Sat | Sep 23, 2017

Despite relief, NWC still monitoring Mona Reservoir

Published:Tuesday | October 6, 2015 | 10:00 AMJodi-Ann Gilpin

While the National Water Commission (NWC) has announced an immediate lifting of drought restrictions in several sections of the Corporate Area, the agency is still closely monitoring water levels at the Mona Reservoir.

Since the heavy weekend rains, the storage levels at the Hermitage Dam have moved from 69 per cent to 100 per cent and the Mona Reservoir has risen from 25 per cent to 36 per cent. At the worst of the drought, storage levels had dropped to as low as about 20 per cent and 25 per cent at the Mona and Hermitage reservoirs, respectively.

Charles Buchanan, communications manager at the NWC, told The Gleaner yesterday that while restrictions have been relaxed in areas served by the Mona Reservoir, there are a number of factors that continue to affect water supply.

"The Hermitage Dam, by far, is a smaller facility; it's half the size of the Mona Reservoir. It holds 393 million gallons while the Mona Reservoir holds 809, which means it will take consistent rainfall to fill the reservoir to its capacity," he said.

Nothing from rivers

"What must be noted as well is that a major part of the supply for the Mona Reservoir are the Hope River (St Andrew) and the Yallahs and Negril rivers (St Thomas). St Thomas is still reeling from the impacts of the drought and for much of this year, there are cases where there was nothing coming from the Hope River to go to the Mona Reservoir," he continued.

As such, nightly restrictions will remain in force until further improvements in storage are achieved at the Mona Reservoir.

In a release yesterday, the NWC announced a relaxing of the restrictions to allow for 10-12 hours of supply daily during the course of this week.

Customers are also still encouraged to conserve water, while the NWC will continue to closely monitor the situation and will make adjustments as the situation warrants.

Increased inflows

The heavy rains since Friday have resulted in improvements in the watersheds, increased inflows into the various sources and higher storage levels, allowing for a modification of the restrictions.

Among the major systems that have been positively impacted are the Seaview, Hermitage/ Constant Spring, Hope and Mona water supplies, all of which had been under various levels of restriction as a result of the severe drought conditions affecting much of Jamaica for the past several months.

The NWC also noted that while there was significant rainfall in the Corporate Area on the weekend, there was little rainfall experienced in much of St Thomas, Portland, St Mary and St Ann, resulting in no change to the water-supply situation in these parishes.

In recent months, customers in sections of the Corporate Area experienced increased water restrictions, which saw residents receiving water on every two days. Areas that were most affected by the increased restrictions included: August Town, Hope Flat, Papine, Gordon Town, Mona Heights, Mona Road, Beverly Hills, Hope Pastures, Gordon Town, Kintyre, Vineyard Town and sections of Mountain View.

jodi-ann.gilpin@gleanerjm.com