Beginning late Friday night, the Virgin Islands Water and Power Authority (WAPA) activated additional pumps at pumping sites on St. Croix to increase water flow into a five-million-gallon storage tank at Kingshill. The activation is part of ongoing efforts to restore normal potable water service to the island’s west end.
WAPA has been challenged over the past six days to maintain a reliable water supply from mid-island to west end St. Croix, including all of Frederiksted town, as a result of fluctuating water storage levels at the tank. A minimum of 6-7 feet of water is required for normal service to be available to all customers in the affected areas. Short of six feet of water storage, residents experience low water pressure or for those in higher elevations, no water service.
On Friday, WAPA staff and contractors spent the day making electrical, piping and other site modifications for both temporary and permanent pump installations at Richmond, Concordia and Contentment.
“Late tonight and into Saturday morning, a temporary pump will be brought on-line at Contentment. By Sunday night, three new permanent pumps will be installed and activated at the same site. At the Richmond pump station, a new permanent pump will be on-line on Saturday. At Concordia, a new pump will be initiated to operate alongside an existing pump, also by Sunday night,” said Executive Director/ CEO Lawrence J. Kupfer.
“We are working with the contractors to bring additional pumps on-line at Richmond, Concordia, and Contentment to provide an increased water flow into the Kingshill storage tank. Once we reach the seven- foot level, roughly 700,000 gallons of water, there will be a full restoration of service to the west end of St. Croix,” Kupfer said.
WAPA will continue to use the additional pumping capabilities to grow storage. “We have been filling the tank to about the 20-foot level since the 2017 hurricanes, and we aspire to once again achieve that level,” he said.
On Friday, a water service interruption was reported at the Bureau of Motor Vehicles, the Head Start near Claude O. Markoe Elementary School and in Concordia West. Elsewhere in the affected areas, at minimum, customers received low water pressure.
“Crews are continuing to monitor the system for any signs of leaks that may affect the volume of water to the west end. Other personnel are also working to ensure that the quality of the water being distributed is maintained and not compromised,” said Kupfer.
Kupfer asked residents to refrain from tapping the system to fill cisterns and other water catchment devices, and to conserve water to the greatest extent possible until the service has been normalized.
“We again assure all of our customers that there is no shortage of water on St. Croix. We have been challenged in our ability to deliver water to the west end, and we are optimistic that our efforts are now showing positive outcomes,” the director said.
Customers who continue to experience a complete water service interruption should contact the Water Distribution Division at 773-2250, Option 4.