By Latrishka Thomas
Around 95 percent of water production is being done through reverse osmosis due to very low surface and ground water levels, APUA says.
The utility firm’s Water Business Unit manager, Ian Lewis, noted that the country is presently in a period of drought, and as a result, its main surface water catchment is not being used.
“We stopped using the Potworks reservoir, I believe, in February where we were extracting just about one million gallons a day. We have noticed also that the ground water resources have also decreased, so at this point in time we are basically on 95 percent desalination,” Lewis explained.
The Unit’s superintendent Wayne Martin, said the Bendals water treatment plant is being utilised where the surface water is concerned.
The Bendals plant and ground water provides 600,000 gallons per day to areas which Potworks Dam usually services such as Bendals, Golden Grove, Martin’s Village and the city of St John’s.
Martin explained that from the Bendals facility, “water goes in the Gray Hill Reservoir, feeds the city all the way down to Five Islands, Michael’s Village, all these particular areas.”
However, “we have about five weeks in that particular surface area and we also have wells,” he added.
Nevertheless, Lewis said that this crisis is enabling APUA to get an idea of the domestic demand for water.
“This has given us a chance to look at what our numbers really are so we have been looking at what our maximum demand is from our customers who are mostly at home. At this time, we don’t have hotels, we don’t have restaurants, so we are getting a pretty good idea of maximum usage from domestic areas and also from our farmers because we do still have some farmers hooked up to the system,” he stated.
Lewis added that within a month or two they should have an idea of the maximum demand.
Meanwhile, the unit disclosed that 70-75 percent of the communities in Antigua and Barbuda currently receive water around the clock, while 15 percent receive water every day, but for a limited period to enable another set of customers to also have water.
Another 10-15 percent, however, are supplied with water just about every other day.
Lewis therefore urged residents who recognise that they have not received water for two or three days to contact the Water Business Unit.
As related to interruptions in the supply of water, Lewis detailed that that may be due to the fact “that we have broken mains that we still get from time to time … when the pipes break we have to come off to do maintenance, and every time we come off there are these interruptions”.