Help on the way as drought teams carry water up the hill

Click the pic to see full drought coverage

Click the pic to see full drought coverage

Pumps and piping have been ordered from Cape Town to help St Helena get through a possible three months of drought.

Rainfall over the first three days of June had helped to lift that amount of water available for the most populated parts of the island from six to eight days’ remaining supply.

But that was partly down to constraint by consumers, and a big operation to move water from Jamestown in improvised carriers. Airport construction firm also loaned its two bowsers, each able to carry up to 20 cubic metres of water.

Chief of police Peter Coll said: “We were transporting water all over the weekend. There was some excellent work from the fire service, transport section, Connect [the utilities company], and Basil Read supported us as well.

“Transportation of water is new territory for us – having to get these vehicles together, making sure they can do it. Basil Read helped us with a pump and I’m very grateful for that.

“We have two Basil Read bowsers now assisting us, so we have 15 days’ work commissioned with them. They come equipped with pumps and that’s really good news because have a target of over 100 cubic metres a day. so that will help us to bolster our reserves while we look to get some equipment across.

“This has identified that we need some more pumps and we need some more equipment that’s been very difficult to find, and so we have ordered those and we should be waiting for those to get here from Cape Town to assist us with our plans.

“We are very grateful for the hard work everyone put in at the weekend. It’s good, it’s optimistic, it’s positive news, but we have got to keep the usage the same or this or the whole plan starts to fall apart.

“Maybe a bit of the rain coming, and a few more weeks of this and we can get back to normality.”

A technical group is considering a medium term plan to get the island through the next three months.

It might opt to use bowsers or a pumps and piping to replenish  reservoirs at Harper’s Valley with water from parts of the island where it is still plentiful, such as Jamestown and Levelwood.

Peter said: “The most important thing is we keep the water flowing into our best distribution system, which is our taps.

“The situation for June looks as if it is taking shape but if the worst happens and we don’t get any rain, what do we do in July and August?

“It’s like turning an oil tanker round: we have got to start doing some things now. We cannot go into the next phase of this plan without having something that’s going to cope with it.

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