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Water Truckers group warns of empty tanks

Residents could find themselves with empty tanks during this “drought-like” summer if a shortage in water supplies is not dealt with soon, the Bermuda Water Truckers Association has warned.

Vice president of the association Russ Ford said a lack of rainfall and customers panic-buying loads of water, coupled with closed and poorly maintained water truck outlets, is hitting supplies hard.

The Department of Public Works has placed the blame squarely on lack of rainfall and high demand, insisting that maintenance is not a contributory factor.

A Public Works spokeswoman said: “Due to the ongoing drought — like conditions affecting quantities of water, increased strains/excessive demands, and an obligations to all clients, including residential areas that are being supplied by some of the locations, temporary changes were made.

“They are constantly monitoring the water situation. This is not as a result of any maintenance issues — it is a result of dry weather conditions and heavy demand.”

However, according to truckers, government’s Port Royal and Prospect facilities are currently closed, the facility in St George’s is operating on restricted opening hours, while the one at Tyne’s Bay has limited functionality and capacity to contain water.

Mr Ford told The Royal Gazette: “The situation right now is very, very serious to the point that government is going to have to consider what options they have in order to supply the populace.

“This is infringing on private truckers’ supplies — government called our firm for supplies, we were able to help to a certain extent but we have to take care of our clients first.

“To the people, the message from our point of view is conservation.

“Be patient, be considerate with your water truck dealer and understand that are other persons who may be in a worse state than you.

“Running out of water is always a risk. This is the first year in a number of years where we have had to ration water supply in order to let everybody get a piece of the action.”

Mr Ford said there had been instances in the past where government had to hire barges of water from abroad.

He added: “There is a finite supply of water — that is the reality — but rainfall is only one element. It is also a management and infrastructure issue.

“Government has expended resources that could have been used to ensure the plants were in tip-top shape. We have a whole ocean so the desalination plant is used all year round but they are not going to be able to keep up.

“We also need the sufficient space to hold the water: that is also limiting the ability to service the population. We get caught out time and time again and there doesn’t seem to be any remedy. We don’t cry til the well runs dry. That is for government to sort out whether they use overseas resources or raise awareness about conservation.

“If it is not an issue of maintenance then why are we looking at closed plants?”