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The St Helena report and the gap in media

Islanders help in quest for water – but some is beyond reach

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Saints have been joining the hunt for untapped water sources to try to beat drought conditions in parts of the island – by drawing on close personal knowledge of the land.

Others have come up with ways to help save water, as people on parts of the island faced the prospects of having taps run dry within days.

Chief of Police Peter Coll praised their efforts at Thursdays’ daily briefing on the crisis.

He said: “It’s good that we get the solutions and suggestions but we do need to check them out.

“Sometimes there are technical difficulties and the solutions aren’t right. But the answer might be in there.

“From suggestions, as I understand it, we have saved considerable amounts of water already, by piping in water from elsewhere.”

Some water is just too hard for Connect St Helena, the newly privatised utilities company, to reach.

Water engineer Martin Squibbs said: “We have had some good suggestions. We are looking at all the suggestions. Not all are productive.

“I had somebody this morning asking about Lemon Valley, because there is water in Lemon Valley, but it’s in too small a quantity to be brought back up to the top and into the Red Hill system.

“So some sources of water aren’t productive for us to capture but we are looking at all suggestions.

“We are looking at all our spring intakes. In periods of wet weather it wouldn’t be worth the effort to maintain intakes but now we are in a shortage, that’s changed.

“We have looked at small sources that have been abandoned years ago, that still have good water but very limited quantities.

“We have been getting help from local people: ‘There is water up in such and such a spring, it’s not been used for many years but it’s still there.’ We have been there, we have cleaned out the intake.

“So sources we stopped using some years ago we are now looking at again.”

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