ANTIGUA – Island’s main catchment is running out of water

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Potworks Dam, the country’s main fresh water catchment, could go dry in weeks, according to Ian Lewis, production engineer at the Antigua Public Utilities Authority (APUA) Water Business Unit.

Lewis, speaking on local radio this morning said the fresh water source has an estimated four to six weeks of water left if there is no significant rainfall.

“This is our hurricane season and I do hope that we get some showers from whether tropical waves or a front or something like that, but certainly not a storm,” Lewis said.

Thirty percent of the authority’s water supply comes from surface water.

Referring to other water sources, Lewis said the new desalination Shell Beach plant is in the testing and commissioning phase at this moment.

This means that the project is completed but has not been brought completely on-line as APUA attempts to iron out some minor issues it is having.

Lewis said the plant should be fully operational by next week, and added that it was brought on-line for 17 out of 24 hours at full capacity two nights ago.

The water production engineer disclosed that the plant was, however, taken off-line the following day to address some electrical issues.

He said the plant at Crabbs is functioning, producing 3.3 million gallons of water daily.

Camp Blizzard, where maintenance work is underway, is out of service, and the plant at Ffryes is operational.

Lewis noted that there is currently no surface water within the Bendals Valley and therefore APUA is depending on ground water and (other sources) to meet the needs of those in that area.

“It’s not the best picture but we are hoping [that] once the Shell Beach plant is fully commissioned that we should see some alleviation of the curtailment that is presently ongoing,” Lewis concluded.

Sixty per cent of water is sourced from desalination, with only 10 percent coming from ground water. (ANR)

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