Statement by Honourable Kye Rymer
Minister for Transportation, Works and Utilities
At the Sixth Sitting of the Second Session of the Fourth
House of Assembly of the Virgin Islands
March 27th 2020
On Water Programme
In light of the Coronavirus pandemic, and in support of maintaining clean spaces and the need to wash our hands with soap and water for 20 seconds, Cabinet on 19th March, 2020 decided:
a. To suspend charges by the Water and Sewerage Department for water to residences for a period of 30 days in the first instance, effective 19th March, 2020; and
b. Offer water delivery to Water and Sewerage Department customers in the areas affected by interruptions in the water distribution network for a period of 30 days (effective 19th March, 2020).
As a territory, we are a few hours from going into home quarantine and it is required that all necessary works or issues that would negatively affect us are addressed. As such I take this opportunity to provide a brief update on the water situation within the territory. We are aware that the infrastructure is weak and we are making headway in correcting those issues. I point out the situation in Sea Cow’s Bay when e we were providing no more than 3 hours a day of service, and now we can provide up to and beyond 12 hours. In the hillside of Greenland customers were without service for approximately 10 years and have been with service since May 2019. Mayaba area has been without service since the 2017 storms and is now receiving water. So we are pleased that these issues have been corrected, and there is much more to do.
At the same time, we continue to experience interruptions and we apologise for the inconvenience that our customers endure. I know that the eastern end of Tortola has been without water service for more than 24 hours, and teams are already in the area addressing those issues. Similarly, the Water Plants have been doing their part. They have been cleaning their systems a service that you paid for and the well fields to ensure that more water is available to us. SevenSeas finalized its cleaning a few weeks ago, Ocean Conversion executed its cleaning yesterday and was not producing water (hence one of the reasons there was low water pressure or no water on the eastern end of the island), and Aqua Design is set to carry out their cleaning in the Capoons Bay area which will probably contribute to some water disruption.
We thank those customers who have called to advise that they are interested in having water delivered to them; we thank you for taking advantage of this offering, and we trust that we would be able to correct your situations of receiving daily water service, a service that you paid for. We ask for your continued patience as we work to resolve these issues.
So far 15 trips have been scheduled to deliver water to customers. Delivery has already been made to address areas in Cane Garden Bay, West End and today the focus is on Sea Cow’s Bay, one of the areas that have been suffering for too long with regard to water service. There are other areas that experience difficulty and we can assure you that we are working steadily to either get service to you or improve your service.
To our customers in Carrot Bay, the new pump has been installed and is fully functional. Hence those customers who have been experiencing difficulty with water service should expect an improved service starting today. Much appreciation is extended to the Water & Sewerage Department Team for their hard work and commitment to providing consistent water.
To our Jost Van Dyke customers, the Water Plant that has been experiencing some difficulties but we are assured that the concerns are under control. A team is currently on island reviewing pumps and making repairs.
The water situations on Anegada and Virgin Gorda are relatively stable. Throughout the quarantined period officers will be on the standby to address any situation.