By Esther Durand, BVI News Staff
Residents of the British Virgin Islands are being told to brace for periods of low, or even no water within the next few months.
Deputy Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Communication and Works Jeremy Hodge said this is because several reservoirs which were affected during last year’s hurricanes are currently being replaced and repaired.
He described the damage to local reservoirs as ‘extensive’.
According to Hodge, at least five reservoirs located on Sabbath Hill, Fort Hill, Hannah’s Hill, Balsam Ghut and the Valley on Virgin Gorda, respectively, received varying levels of damage and are lined up to be repaired.
Water won’t be off all at once
He further said residents should not be overly worried as the water will not be “out a hundred percent of the time.”
However, he added: “There would be periods of low water pressure or no water [and] we ask that when water is available to you, store as much as you can. We also ask that all wastage should be avoided.”
New reservoirs coming
In the meantime, a few reservoirs that were destroyed in the hurricanes will be replaced with new ones.
The Deputy Permanent Secretary said the reservoirs to be replaced include one at Maya Cove on Tortola, one at North Sound in Virgin Gorda, and the sole reservoir that was on Jost Van Dkye.
Hodge said, prior to last year’s hurricanes, the sole reservoir on Jost Van Dyke developed a pump issue which was not addressed in time to refill the reservoir.
As a consequence, the walls of the reservoir caved in.
“Part of what we were supposed to do before a storm is to make sure that the reservoirs are filled with water and, in that way, it would prevent the reservoirs from collapsing,” he explained.
Hodge said in the interim, a resident on the island agreed to allow his personal cisterns to be used to pump water to the rest of the island.
There are nine reservoirs on Tortola, two on Virgin Gorda, one on JVD, and one on Anegada.
The UK footing most of the bill
The reservoir repair and restoration project is a joint partnership between the BVI and the United Kingdom.
Hodge noted the BVI would pay roughly $150,000, which will go towards a part of the labour cost, while the UK would cover the remaining cost, which he was unable to divulge.
He said some of the reservoirs can cost up to a million dollars each. The work is being undertaken by a seven-man team from Florida Aqua Store.
They arrived in the territory earlier this month and are expected to complete the project within four to six months of their commencement date.
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