Barbuda residents are being reminded that they must re-apply for water service to their homes in order to receive supply.
Speaking to OBSERVER media on Thursday Ivan Rodrigues, head of the APUA’s Water Business Unit, said he had heard people complaining that there was no water on the island. According to the utility official, the authority met its commitment to have water supply back on the island within eight weeks after Hurricane Irma.
“Once we started putting water in the system we realised water was going everywhere because you had houses destroyed, you had in some instances the clean-up effort which took place and in moving debris you damage service lines that are on the surface.”
Rodrigues said as a result of this they had to go through the community and disconnect all services except to those houses that were occupied.
“It’s been on the media for several weeks that if you want your service returned you need to re-apply for it because we cannot put water back to a house that is unoccupied unless we are certain that everything in the house is turned off and sound and secure,” Rodrigues said.
He noted that workers from the unit operate the plant on a daily basis except on the weekends when they return to their families in Antigua.
“There’s a water storage tank in Barbuda. They ensure that [it] is filled and it gravity feeds to the community until they can return again on Monday,” Rodrigues explained.
The official said so far they have spent some E.C. $800,000 on getting water service back up on the island and there was still more work to be done.
“We’re building everything in concrete so even though we have done temporary work within the eight weeks to get things up and going everything now would be like — for the plant itself — the roof itself would be concrete, the pump station would be concrete with reinforced concrete roof and steel doors.”
Rodrigues noted that the workers are currently using temporary tanks and they intend to install a new 100,000-gallon tank. They are also looking at the possibility of a second reverse osmosis plant for the island.
Four months ago to the day, Hurricane Irma decimated Barbuda with the water facilities also taking a battering.
The roof of the reverse osmosis plant had been blown off and seawater had flooded the facility while the pump station and electrical panels were destroyed. A shipping container that was next to the building housing the reverse osmosis plant smashed into the building during the Category 5 hurricane, damaging the wall.
Rodrigues related that the motors were all under seawater while the membranes for the plant were affected. He also disclosed that fixing the panel for the plant took eight weeks.