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Water crisis worsens as consumption goes up

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The water shortage on St Helena has grown more serious – and it appears some householders are losing the resolve to use less of it.

Reservoir levels have begun to go down in the worst affected area, above Half Tree Hollow, after a major operation to transport water from other parts of the island.

That means the island may not have enough stored water to cope when the dry season begins in September or October – potentially stretching into March.

A government bulletin issued on 16 July 2013 said:

“The continued unseasonably dry weather on St Helena means that the water situation in affected areas remains serious.

“The headline message this week is that following the sunny weather and an increase in water consumption in the Redhill distribution zone over the weekend, we are starting to draw down on our supplies in the Redhill system.

“This means we are slowly losing stored water. Consumption in the Redhill zone in June was an average of approximately 260 cubic metres per day.  In July so far, it is at an average of about 280 cubic metres per day, and continues to creep up

“As a consequence of this, the Harpers 2 (Earth Dam) is now being used to feed Scotts Mill reservoir, which now holds just 13 days’ supply.

“This serves as a reminder to the public that the situation in the affected areas remains serious.  As a result of increased consumption, we are now drawing down on the reserves that we were previously building up.

“Residents served by the Redhill distribution plant are once again urged to continue to lower their water consumption. The island as a whole is reminded that the hosepipe ban is still in force.

“We must all maintain our efforts to reduce domestic water consumption wherever possible and stretch this resource, until we return to normal rainfall patterns.

Piping of additional water to the Scotts Mill reservoir continues to be necessary, until we receive significant rainfall.

“The laying of pipework and preparatory work for the pump, to transfer water from Levelwood into the Hutts Gate system, continues.

“The latest weather forecast indicates a 10-20% likelihood of rain over the next three days, followed by drier weather later this week.”

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