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Warning on Southside over water consumption

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Warning sign: Southside water levels are critically low (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)

Southside residents and businesses have been warned to watch their water consumption because of low rainfall.

A spokeswoman for the Bermuda Land Development Company said signs had been placed around the area to alert people to low levels in the reservoirs that serve the St David’s area.

The spokeswoman added: “Southside St David’s occasionally experiences low water levels, as does most of Bermuda.

“Over the last few months, our reservoir levels have become low and we are eager to receive more rainfall to supplement the levels.

“Advisory signs have been implemented as an additional way to keep our tenants informed about our water levels.”

She said: “We intend to utilise these signs all year round so that the driving and walking public are advised of our levels and can be alerted to conserve water at critical times.”

The spokeswoman added that BLDC staff had already started conservation work to protect the water reserves in the area.

The Bermuda Weather Service has recorded 31.87 inches of rain so far this year — 1.94 inches more than normal — but both June and April were drier than usual.

James Dodgson, the director of the Bermuda Weather Service, said: “This year, we had a wet January and March especially, when we recorded almost nine inches compared with the March average of near 4.5 inches.

“This is what has helped to carry our ongoing year-to-date surplus.”

He added: “Recently, it has been very dry, aside from some very spotty and isolated showers, care of the dominant Bermuda-Azores ridge of high pressure across our area.

“This is fairly typical for the time of year, when one part of the island can have a downpour, while most other areas remain dry.”

Mr Dodgson said that the island could get showers later this week, but the “spotty” nature of rain this time of the year meant that not everyone may benefit.

The island’s water trucking businesses said that Southside was not the only area affected.

Shannon Wolffe, of Burchall’s Water Service, said the summer has already been busier than last year.

He said: “Everybody is running out of water. I’ve been doing at least 20 jobs a day. It’s definitely busier than last summer and probably a little busier than some previous years. Right now it appears like we have a heatwave coming. We get a few people who are calling because their levels are low and others because they are out.”

A spokeswoman for James Water Service said business had picked up this month and that the company had also delivered water to more than 20 customers a day on average.

She said: “Everybody has been anticipating rain, but it hasn’t come yet so a lot of people are running out of water.

“It was a bit slow in June, but it has picked up given that it hasn’t been raining. It’s pretty much expected for this time of the year. It’s busy, but expected.”

She added that householders should check their tanks on a regular basis and order water before they run dry.

Roger Pacheco, of Pacheco and Sons Farms, said the dry weather was a problem for some crops.

Mr Pacheco added: “Everyone’s pumpkins are really struggling. There’s a lot of corn out there growing still, but it’s not easy when we get these droughts.

“When there’s not enough water, the birds go after the corn because they’re thirsty. It’s challenging this time of the year.”

He said Bermuda’s warm weather limited the types of crops that could be grown during the summer and a drought was a major problem.

Mr Pacheco added: “It’s the way of life. It’s what we do, unfortunately. If it’s not a drought, it’s a hurricane.

“If you look at the weather, they talk about passing showers, but they seem to be passing right by unfortunately.”

The headquarters of the Bermuda Land Development Company at Triton House, Southside (File photograph)