Hoarding contributing to water shortage – APUA

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The Antigua Public Utilities Authority (APUA) is currently producing at its highest capacity but the hoarding of water is creating a problem.
In making the disclosure, the utility’s new water manager, Ian Lewis said, “… we are putting a lot more in. But it seems that we have more challenges, and we are relating that to the fact that in normal conditions with some rainfall, people were able to maintain some level of water within their cisterns. At this point in time most of our customers are saying that their cisterns are dry and they are dependent on the water business unit supply to top their cisterns up,” Lewis said.
Highlighting that the water unit has managed to put an additional 30 to 40 million gallons per month into the distribution system, Lewis said, “This has created a lot more hoarding where people are more concerned with filling their cisterns and not just taking the daily supply. So, even with almost 185 million gallons a month (approximately six million gallons per day) we are still finding it challenging to give water to everyone.”
When asked by the host of OBSERVER AM if APUA frowns on the filling of cisterns, Lewis said, “We want to encourage the consumer to conserve water, and if you do that, then the conservation picture gets a bit cloudy, and it means that the amount we are putting into the system will not be adequate to serve everyone. And that’s why we are having that situation.
“When we send water to a particular area you have in most cases lower and higher elevation areas and you may find the people at the lower elevation all fulling their cisterns, so the water never gets to the higher elevations at that community.”
He explained that APUA has managed to achieve the high production in the face of restricting sea conditions, sargassum seaweed and the current drought.
According to him, the sargassum seaweed posed a novel challenge to the entity.
“We did quite a bit of inspection by our divers and quite a bit of cleanings on the unit so that did hamper us quite a bit. Now we are producing at our maximum ability and right now, we are averaging about 184 million gallons a month,” he said.
Lewis added that the drought situation is “something that’s a lot worse” than what APUA has previously experienced resulting in an increase in demand for water.

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