Amidst the ongoing water crisis in Saint Lucia, Prime Minister Allen Chastanet paid a visit on Thursday to the John Compton Dam.
He was accompanied by Agriculture Minister Ezechiel Joseph who has responsibility for water resources.
Prime Minister Chastanet said the visit was to get an update on the ongoing dam rehabilitation and desilting works.
He explained that they also visited the dam to witness firsthand the ‘alarmingly low’ water levels and the strategy that WASCO has developed in the event that this dry spell continues for much longer.
“Our Government is making a significant investment to increase the dam’s capacity to help improve the water supply,” Chastanet wrote Sunday on his official Facebook page.
“These works are long overdue.” he asserted.
However the PM noted that ‘the ticklish truth’ about this massive project ongoing at the dam is the fact that the desilting process is heavily dependent on rain fall levels.
Chastanet stated that too little or too much rain at any point can stall and prevent the progress of the major rehabilitation project.
“The lack of rain has allowed the desilting bin to be cleared to receive the sediment and the extraction equipment has been deployed. Now, we wait the rains to replenish the reservoir to start sustainably dredging,” the PM wrote on his Facebook page.
On Monday, May 18th, 2020, the government declared a Water Emergency due to the abnormally low levels of rainfall over the last few weeks.
Chastanet said he knows there are some households that have had to endure dry pipes for days on end and the ongoing rationing system is causing major disruption to daily lives.
However he pointed out that unfortunately, drought conditions said to be the worst in more than 50 years are currently being experienced.
“On top of that, presently the Dam is heavily silted with tonnes of sediment, reducing the our reservoir’s capacity by a whopping 30%,” Chastanet observed.
He reminded Saint Lucians to continue to be mindful of the ongoing water crisis.
Chstanet also urged them to remember that the authorities are doing everything in their power to bring relief to communities who experience water challenges every day.
“This water project, like those we have completed in communities such as Hill20, Des Barras, Ti Rocher Micoud, Dennery North and Canaries, is part of our government’s vision to significantly improve our nation’s water supply capacity, distribution and resilience,” Chastanet said.