With an increased dependency on stored water in the territory, residents are being urged to purify water before use.
Chief Environmental Health Officer Lionel Michael told BVI News in a recent interview, it is of absolute importance to make water from cisterns and tanks safe before consumption.
“The BVI has tremendous water storage capacity in cisterns and tanks – hundreds of thousands of gallons if you add them up – which is a very good source of water. But, it should be purified.”
Michael said residents can either boil water, add chlorine or household bleach, or consider the option of installing water filters to improve water quality.
In so doing, “any microorganisms or germs that are in the water will be killed and it will be then safe to use,” he said.
Typhoid fever, malaria, diarrhoea, and cholera are some sanitation diseases related with unpurified water.
Meanwhile, the Environmental Health chief said knowing the storage capacity of cisterns is another crucial part of having safe water.
Knowing how much water is stored enables persons to also know the exact amount of disinfectant required to bring it ‘up to par’, Michael said
Michael further said water in wells should be avoided until otherwise instructed.
“Because well water can be contaminated with sewerage and chemicals and all kinds of things, the public should not take undue risks when they have expert advice available in government agencies.”
He said in the event of an emergency, the various governmental agencies will go through the process of making well water suitable for drinking or bathing.
Late last month, Deputy Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Communication and Works Jeremy Hodge said residents should brace for periods of low, or even no water within the next few months.
He said this is as a result of several extensively damaged reservoirs currently under repairs.
During last year’s catastrophic hurricanes, at least five reservoirs located on Sabbath Hill, Fort Hill, Hannah’s Hill, Balsam Ghut and the Valley on Virgin Gorda, received varying levels of damage and are lined up to be repaired.
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