Does the BWA inform residents when there will be a disruption to the supply of service?
Yes every attempt is made to inform residents. For planned work the Authority gives a minimum of forty-eight (48) hours public notice in print and/or on the radio before commencement of work. For emergency work such as repair of burst mains advance notice of the work is not always possible, but public notices are placed on the radio once the extent of the work and outages are determined. The major challenge the BWA faces in the area of disruption of service is the lack of an online and on time monitoring system (SCADA). Without this system the BWA depends on calls from the public to be aware of areas experiencing outages or low pressure.
Why does it take so long to repair burst mains/pipes?
There are a number of factors which cause repairs to take a very long time. These are: repairs are currently carried out with manually operated tools, time is needed to depressurize the main and delays can also be due to limited equipment which requires the sharing of this equipment between several job sites. The age and large mix of pipes and fittings installed in the system sometimes delays the time it takes to get the relevant fittings to complete repairs. These parts may then have to be machined at the fabrication workshop at Bowmanston thus holding up the completion of the work. In some instances, it may be a combination of the above which impacts the repairs.
Is there an adequate number of tankers to service densely populated areas when there is an outage?
The Authority has a fleet of water tankers which in most cases are assigned to deal with areas affected by service disruptions. The tankers are therefore deployed across the island on a daily basis. It is important to note that the tanker service is not a permanent replacement for the regular water supply. We therefore advise residents to keep some water in storage for emergencies such as this.
Explain why there is such a frequency of recurring burst mains?
The frequency in burst mains occurs because more than sixty (60%) percent of the large sized mains are more than seventy (70) years old and do not have concrete liners inside the pipe to protect them from the aggressive water. Most of these mains have reached a point were they need to be replaced as demonstrated by the fact that a repair at one location on occasion results in a burst at the next weakest point. Also, most of the water mains are located in the road and are therefore impacted by the increased traffic load. Funding is currently being sought for an intensified long-term mains replacement programme which is planned to start during 2010.
Why is there a delay in new service installation time?
Even though the BWA Act states that new services will be installed within ninety (90) days, the Authority has been working to reduce this to within seven (7) days. Currently more than sixty (60) percent of new service installations are done within fourteen (14) days. Delays are sometimes encountered due to material outages, lack of adequate directions and contact details. The need to investigate those applications that fall in Zone 1 to determine whether they qualify for a new service can also result in delays.