By Gemma Handy
Help is ahead for hundreds of long-suffering families with limited access to running water.
Government announced yesterday that 320 water tanks have arrived on island ready to be distributed to indigent residents in areas deemed to be particularly badly affected by drought.
The 500-gallon tanks can be used to catch rainwater and store it.
Government spokesman Lionel Hurst told yesterday’s post-Cabinet press briefing that more details as to when residents can expect to receive them would be given next week.
Hurst was also asked if the tanks would be distributed for free or at a subsidised rate.
“The reason why many people are without any water at all is because they cannot afford to buy these tanks, and so the idea is to be able to provide to indigent families or households these tanks.
“We are not certain if they ought to be gifts or if there ought to be a small cost attached. As soon as that decision is made it will be communicated,” he replied.
The tanks have been imported via the Central Housing and Planning Authority.
State utility firm APUA currently supplies more than seven million gallons of potable water each day. The bulk of it comes from reverse osmosis plants, coupled with surface water from rain which gathers in ponds and dams, plus a small amount from ground water deep within the earth accessed through wells.
Increasing consumer demand has exacerbated shortages caused by everything from drought to inefficient production, resulting in frequent planned outages causing misery for householders with no storage capacity.
Almost 20 per cent of water produced is said to be wasted due to aged leaking pipes. Government recently embarked on a pipe replacement programme and has also expanded capacity at the Ffryes Beach reverse osmosis plant.
APUA also plans to commission a new plant at Fort James by the end of June, and another one at Bethesda towards the end of the year.