86.8 F
Cruz Bay
Wednesday, July 17, 2024


April 20, 2001- Ongoing water shortages on St. John drove haulers in their trucks to the already traffic-tight streets of Cruz Bay Thursday to protest the situation.
By late in the day, Senate President and at-large lawmaker Almando "Rocky" Liburd had issued a release stating that Water and Power Authority officials would meet with the haulers on St. John on Friday and vowing to push for solutions to the water problem.
At 8 a.m. Thursday, eight large water trucks were slowly cruising around town to protest not being able to get water for four days. "Police stopped them at the road by the Lime Inn and closed off the other side of the road by the Fish Trap Restaurant so no vehicles would enter behind the trucks," an observer said.
Liburd expressed solidarity with the water haulers, saying they were "reacting to the basic injustice" of an untenable situation. His release stated that the water desalination plant on St. John, with a capacity of 160,000 gallons per day, "has long been unable to serve the needs of St. John’s fast-growing population, which has increased by nearly a third over the last decade and by nearly 100 percent since 1980."
St. John is under water rationing which makes a total of 60,000 gallons per day available to water truckers. Potable water service is being provided for only three hours in the morning and three hours at night.
In the release, the senator said he has been sending letters to the governor and the executive director of WAPA "for years" trying to get something done about the situation "but has received no response or evidence of action." Now, "to address the matter myself," he said, he has drafted legislation to appropriate $2 million to address the problem.
Until funding is available to construct a new desal plant or upgrade the existing one, he said, "the mobile desalination unit donated by the federal government must be an integral part of our efforts to address the problem." He termed "inexcusable" the diverting of the mobile desal barge to the British Virgin Islands "to meet their water needs while St. John suffers under an ongoing water crisis."
Last week, because of "the need to get this barge in operation as quickly as possible" for St. John, Liburd said, he successfully proposed an appropriation of $150,000 to get the desal unit repaired. The measure awaits the governor's signature.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Keeping our community informed is our top priority.
If you have a news tip to share, please call or text us at 340-228-8784.

Support local + independent journalism in the U.S. Virgin Islands

Unlike many news organizations, we haven't put up a paywall – we want to keep our journalism as accessible as we can. Our independent journalism costs time, money and hard work to keep you informed, but we do it because we believe that it matters. We know that informed communities are empowered ones. If you appreciate our reporting and want to help make our future more secure, please consider donating.