Gov­ern­ment De­clares Wa­ter Emer­gency

The Star (St. Lucia) - - LOCAL -

The Gov­ern­ment of Saint Lu­cia has de­clared a wa­ter-re­lated emer­gency for all parts of the is­land, ef­fec­tive May 20 and run­ning un­til July 31, as the drought sit­u­a­tion showed no signs of im­prove­ment and wa­ter lev­els de­creased.

This type of emer­gency is de­clared when a short­age or de­fi­ciency of wa­ter ex­ists or may soon ex­ist.

Min­is­ter with re­spon­si­bil­ity for the Public Ser­vice, In­for­ma­tion, and Broad­cast­ing Dr. James Fletcher said in a na­tional ad­dress on the mea­sures to deal with the drought that river flow rates around the is­land were be­low ex­pected base-flow rates.

“The in­for­ma­tion pre­sented to me by the Wa­ter Re­source Man­age­ment Agency in­di­cates that from the data col­lected at Ge­orge F.L. Charles Air­port and He­wanorra In­ter­na­tional Air­port . . . St. Lu­cia is cur­rently experiencing a long-term me­te­o­ro­log­i­cal drought,” he said.

“To make mat­ters worse, be­cause of the in­tense heat we have been experiencing, the rate of evap­o­ra­tion has also in­creased. As of May 11, 2015, the wa­ter level at the dam was 81.6 inches be­low the spill­way, or a lit­tle less than seven feet be­low the high point of the dam. We are roughly at the same point we were last year, but with faster rates of decline of our wa­ter lev­els. If we do not take ac­tion, we ex­pect the wa­ter level to drop an ad­di­tional 6.8 feet by the end of May and a fur­ther 12 feet by the end of June. This would be cat­a­strophic.”

Fletcher said Gov­ern­ment has there­fore taken sev­eral steps to re­duce the im­pact of the dry pe­riod. In the north of the is­land, the Va­nard and Ravine Pois­son in­takes were re-ac­ti­vated; ab­strac­tion of wa­ter from the John Comp­ton Dam will be re­duced; 13 ma­jor leaks on the raw wa­ter line from the dam to the Ciceron Treat­ment Plant are be­ing re­paired; a wa­ter source in De­g­los will be ac­ti­vated; and tem­po­rary public stand­pipes will be in­stalled in some of the most af­fected com­mu­ni­ties around the is­land.

In ad­di­tion, the Na­tional Emer­gency Man­age­ment Or­ga­ni­za­tion (NEMO) will as­sist with truck­ing wa­ter to com­mu­ni­ties where wa­ter is ur­gently re­quired.

Gov­ern­ment said the public had to co­op­er­ate for the mea­sures to work. It has ad­vised that drink­ing wa­ter should not be used for wash­ing ve­hi­cles and wa­ter­ing lawns or gar­dens, and that the wash­ing of ve­hi­cles in rivers should stop im­me­di­ately in or­der to avoid con­tam­i­na­tion of wa­ter sources.

(CMC)

Min­is­ter with re­spon­si­bil­ity for Public Ser­vice, In­for­ma­tion and Broad­cast­ing - Se­na­tor, the Hon. Dr. James

Fletcher.

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