General Manager of Dominica Water and Sewerage Company (DOWASCO), Bernard Etinoffe has reported that the company suffered damages to the tune of $50M during the passage of Tropical Storm Erika.
He made that revelation during a press briefing at the Financial Centre on Thursday night.
According to Etinoffe, the company is still determining what it would cost to restore its systems, all of which were affected by Tropical Storm Erika.
He said many of the systems have been restored but DOWASCO still has to do more “permanent work” to fix the water systems.
Etinoffe also revealed that water has been restored to 70 percent of the population.
“We are pleased to report to-date that about 59%-60% percent of all the systems have been restored providing water to about 70 % of the population of Dominica at this time,” he revealed.
“Prior to Tropical Storm Erika, DOWASCO provided water to 98 % of the population of Dominica and with the completion of the Belles, Penrice, Sylvania water systems expected at the end of this month, that would have brought coverage of water throughout Dominica to about 99.5 %,” he said.
Etinoffe said intakes were blocked by heavy boulders and there was also heavy siltation at some intakes. In some cases, the concrete structures of intakes are severely damaged. He said this was the case at Water Area 1 that serves the communities from Mero to Castle Comfort, including Roseau and all the environs there, Warner and Campbell,” Etinoffe explained.
Etinoffe continued, “We are happy to report to-date that the intake at Spring Field has been cleaned, totally and water has been restored in Water Area 1.”
He also remarked on the indiscriminate use of fire hydrants and standpipes.
“Persons indiscriminately connect hoses to those pipes and wash down their yards and wash down the streets in spite of our appeal not to do so,” he noted. “We understand the need for the city to be clean and for homes to be clean but we also understand there’s a greater need for persons to be able to get some water at their homes and so we have appealed to the public not to engage in this indiscriminate use of the standpipes and fire hydrants.”
Etinoffe has reported that the water system has been restored in Bellevue Chopin, Castle Bruce, Good Hope, Grand Fond, Clifton, Capuchin, Cottage, Cochrane, Kalinago Territory, Wotten Waven, La Plaine, Loubiere, Paix Bouche, Wallhouse, Pointe Michel, Soufriere, Scotts Head, Portsmouth, Penville, Thibaud, Vieille Case, Dos D’ane, Warner, Campbell, and to 90 percent of Morne Jaune.
He also reported that water should be restored in the areas of Shawford, Fond Canie, Trafalgar, Grand Bay, Giraudel, Salisbury, Picard, Bioche, Dublanc and Delices by next week.
The company has not been able to make much progress in the Bagatelle, Fond St Jean, Petite Savanne and the Dubique area.
Meantime General Manager of Dominica Electricity Services Ltd (DOMLEC) Bertilia Leblanc- Mckenzie has reported that electricity has been restored to 97 percent of its customers.
Mckenzie said however that some homes must re-certified in order to be reconnected.
“Paradise Valley in Bath Estate and Check Hall Valley have been energized. However, due to the effects of the water on the electrical installations a large number of customers have been isolated because of flooding to their homes,” she explained. “So we really will not be able to reconnect those customers because their electrical installations have been compromised and [because of safety considerations] we will not reconnect.”
She added, “We really need to go through the procedure of having their homes recertified by the electrical division in order to be reconnected.”
Mckenzie said the same will apply to Coulibistrie after restoration has been done.
She revealed that some big customers had to be isolated due to damage. These customers are the Douglas-Charles Airport, Macoucherie Rum Factory, Layou Valley Inn and PetroCaribe.”
According to McKenzie, 1070 customers continue to be affected.