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HomeNewsArchivesWAPA Water Rationing Likely to Continue Another Week

WAPA Water Rationing Likely to Continue Another Week

St. Thomas and St. John will continue on a restricted water diet for the next few days after water rationing that began on Tuesday, according to WAPA officials during an interview Wednesday morning.
Water levels are so low that the V.I. Water and Power Authority began rationing on Tuesday evening.
WAPA’s stored water is only about one-foot deep as of Wednesday morning. That works out to about 218,00 gallons – a drop in the bucket in the face of an average daily use of 2.5 million gallons.
With water stockpiles depleted, WAPA’s water customers can expect water rationing to continue over the next week, according to WAPA Assistant Executive Director Glenn Rothgeb. “We’ve got to build up the storage before we can resume normal pumping.”
Power outages beginning last week prevented the authority from making steam, which is needed to create the water.
Currently, the authority is trying to restock using three of its units at its Randolf plants, and trying to bring a fourth online, according to Noel Hodge, WAPA’s director of water distribution, who updated Rothgeb Wednesday morning on the restocking progress.
The fourth, which is undergoing repairs, is expected to be back in operating condition Thursday.
Affected customers include those in and on the hills above Charlotte Amalie, the Raphune Hill area, lower elevations around Tutu, and on St. Thomas’ East End. Customers in higher elevations above Charlotte Amalie may experience greater inconvenience than those close to the harbor as the authority reduces the use of pumps.
Rothgeb and WAPA spokesperson Lynette Moreland concurred that this was the first time they could remember water levels getting so low.
Standpipe service could also be affected, reducing revenues. “This is very unusual for us right now,” Rothgeb said. “It was the difficulties that we had in the power plant that depleted the reserves.”
Rothgeb acknowledged the need for additional water production methods and noted that WAPA’s board on Tuesday agreed to enter into negotiations with Seven Seas Water Corporation to build reverse-osmosis plants on both St. Thomas and St. Croix. St. John is currently supplied by pipeline from a point near Red Hook on St. Thomas.
The project, forecast for completion in July 2011, will provide water plants capable of providing three million gallons a day. Cost estimates for the reverse-osmosis plants are between $11 and 14 million per year. In 2009 WAPA spent over $26 million on water production.

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