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Water Customers on Rotating Schedule as WAPA Scrambles with Fix

The Water and Power Authority is updating water customers on the availability of water in specific areas, while attempting to solve the problem that has left thousands without regular running water since Dec. 22.

Along with a revised schedule sent Friday afternoon, an accompanying statement noted the schedules are not etched in stone.

“It is important for customers to understand that conditions in the field change very often depending on customer usage and water pressure in any one area,” said WAPA public information officer Kinila Paige in the release. “The designated times should be considered approximate, as it may take time to divert water from one location to another.”

Paige said Friday afternoon there is a possibility the offending heat recovery boiler that caused the initial water shut down could be fixed in the next day or so.

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A part is being fabricated and if it works, the boiler could be back on line Saturday. Meanwhile, three more reverse osmosis desalinization units should be on line soon, Paige said.

But the best case scenario would be to get the boiler up and running.

The release also said WAPA could not guarantee that the Bovoni and Tutu Housing communities would have water Friday evening as there remains insufficient water storage in the Donoe tank. The authority will continue to pump to the Donoe tank until it reaches adequate levels, the statement said.

Help was offered Friday from a local business, but the Source was unable to get any concrete information as of publication time.

A release from the Department of Planning and Natural Resources said the agency would allow Sugar Bay Resport to “sell” water from its reverse osmosis plant, something Sugar Bay had applied for some time ago. Alica Barnes, DPNR commissioner, said in a statement released from Government House Friday afternoon that although the V.I. zoning law does not explicitly allow for the production of water for sale in an R-3 zone, which Sugar Bay is, the V.I. Code does allow her, as the zoning administrator, to overrride the zoning when “extraordinary hardships may result from strict compliance” with the requirement, the release said.

However, calls to Jamal Nielsen, DPNR public information officer, for explanation were not returned. Water and Power Authority officials were also trying to reach DPNR and Sugar Bay to ascertain exactly how this would affect the current situation.

A source close to Government House said the ball was in Sugar Bay’s court. A call to the hotel’s manager on St. Thomas’s East End earlier was not returned. The person who answered the phone said it was unlikely that the manager would return the call Friday.

Cassandra Dunn, WAPA spokeswoman, said she would advise the media if and when she or WAPA Exectuvie Director Hugo Hodge Jr. were given the details of the Sugar Bay offer.

At this time, the schedule for water availability is as follows:

Dec. 30

  • 4 – 6 p.m., Sugar Estate, Estate Thomas
  • 6 – 8 p.m., Contant Knolls, Lindbergh Bay
  • 8 – 10 p.m., Hospital Ground, Ross Taananberg, Havensight, Garden St., Bunker Hill

Dec. 31

  • 6 – 8 a.m.. Annas Fancy, Savan, Veste Gade, Main St.
  • 8 – 10 a.m., Sub Base, Frenchtown, Contant, Altona
  • 4 – 6 p.m., Sugar Estate, Estate Thomas
  • 6 – 8 p.m., Contant Knolls, Lindbergh Bay
  • 8 – 10 p.m., Hospital Ground, Ross Taananberg, Havensight, Garden St., Bunker Hill
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The Water and Power Authority is updating water customers on the availability of water in specific areas, while attempting to solve the problem that has left thousands without regular running water since Dec. 22.

Along with a revised schedule sent Friday afternoon, an accompanying statement noted the schedules are not etched in stone.

“It is important for customers to understand that conditions in the field change very often depending on customer usage and water pressure in any one area,” said WAPA public information officer Kinila Paige in the release. “The designated times should be considered approximate, as it may take time to divert water from one location to another.”

Paige said Friday afternoon there is a possibility the offending heat recovery boiler that caused the initial water shut down could be fixed in the next day or so.

A part is being fabricated and if it works, the boiler could be back on line Saturday. Meanwhile, three more reverse osmosis desalinization units should be on line soon, Paige said.

But the best case scenario would be to get the boiler up and running.

The release also said WAPA could not guarantee that the Bovoni and Tutu Housing communities would have water Friday evening as there remains insufficient water storage in the Donoe tank. The authority will continue to pump to the Donoe tank until it reaches adequate levels, the statement said.

Help was offered Friday from a local business, but the Source was unable to get any concrete information as of publication time.

A release from the Department of Planning and Natural Resources said the agency would allow Sugar Bay Resport to “sell” water from its reverse osmosis plant, something Sugar Bay had applied for some time ago. Alica Barnes, DPNR commissioner, said in a statement released from Government House Friday afternoon that although the V.I. zoning law does not explicitly allow for the production of water for sale in an R-3 zone, which Sugar Bay is, the V.I. Code does allow her, as the zoning administrator, to overrride the zoning when “extraordinary hardships may result from strict compliance” with the requirement, the release said.

However, calls to Jamal Nielsen, DPNR public information officer, for explanation were not returned. Water and Power Authority officials were also trying to reach DPNR and Sugar Bay to ascertain exactly how this would affect the current situation.

A source close to Government House said the ball was in Sugar Bay's court. A call to the hotel's manager on St. Thomas's East End earlier was not returned. The person who answered the phone said it was unlikely that the manager would return the call Friday.

Cassandra Dunn, WAPA spokeswoman, said she would advise the media if and when she or WAPA Exectuvie Director Hugo Hodge Jr. were given the details of the Sugar Bay offer.

At this time, the schedule for water availability is as follows:

Dec. 30

  • 4 – 6 p.m., Sugar Estate, Estate Thomas
  • 6 – 8 p.m., Contant Knolls, Lindbergh Bay
  • 8 – 10 p.m., Hospital Ground, Ross Taananberg, Havensight, Garden St., Bunker Hill


Dec. 31

  • 6 – 8 a.m.. Annas Fancy, Savan, Veste Gade, Main St.
  • 8 – 10 a.m., Sub Base, Frenchtown, Contant, Altona
  • 4 – 6 p.m., Sugar Estate, Estate Thomas
  • 6 – 8 p.m., Contant Knolls, Lindbergh Bay
  • 8 – 10 p.m., Hospital Ground, Ross Taananberg, Havensight, Garden St., Bunker Hill