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Caye Caulker Now with Stable Electricity and Water Supply

Island residents of Caye Caulker are now connected to the locally sourced generation unit that is successfully operational and connected to the island’s power system.

Belize Electricity Limited took teams of workers to monitor and asses the generator unit that was sourced from Independence Village to provide additional generation capacity in Caye Caulker arrived on the island on Saturday, January 4, 2020. This is a fairly used generation unit but was the only one of sufficient capacity that was readily available in-country.

BEL’s team has been working arduously to ensure that the unit functions reliably and consistently. The Company is grateful to its customers for their understanding and participation in energy conservation since Thursday, January 2.

The Belize Water Service Limited also issued a release on the update of the Caye Caulker Water Distribution System and stated the following:

Belize Water Services (BWS) has been made aware of incorrect reports in the media of “multi-day” water outages in Caye Caulker with statements such as “Caye Caulker has been without water for the last five days” and “the island has been without water for almost a week”.

BWS hereby clarifies that Monday December 30, 2019 was the only day when the distribution system supply was interrupted for an extended period. The chronology of events is as follows: On Sunday, December 29, 2019, at about 11:00am, the Caye Caulker Reverse Osmosis Water Treatment Plant experienced a shut down due to a broken main drive shaft. Water was rationed from Sunday, December 29, 2019 until about 7:30am the next day, Monday, December 30, 2019 when the storage reservoir was completely depleted.

The repairs to the plant were completed at about 9:45pm Monday, December 30, 2019, and water was restored immediately in the distribution system. However, due to the storage reservoir having been completely emptied, water was supplied at lower than normal pressure until Thursday January 2, 2020 at about 10:00pm.

Unfortunately, due to a major leak near of the larger hotels at about 3:00am in the early morning of Friday January 3, 2020, there was a 1-hour interruption from 3:30am to 4:30am, followed by a slight reduction in supply pressure in order to gain storage for the weekend demand. Full supply at normal pressure was restored that same night, Friday, January 3, 2020, at about 9:00pm.

During the period with reduced pressure in the system, from Tuesday, December 31, 2019 through to Friday, January 3, 2020, BWS verified that even at the reduced pressures, water was reaching all customers including those located at the ends of the distribution system at both the southern and northern parts of the island.

Throughout this situation, BWS committed to the very expensive option transporting water in container trucks to the island via barges, in order to bolster the supply. On Monday December 30, 2019 the day of the extended interruption, trucks were used to directly supply storage to a number of customers on the island.

BWS has been providing reliable, high-quality supply of potable water to Caye Caulker since June 2010 and is proud to have played a vital role in the growth and development of the island as a major tourist destination. BWS informs customers and the public that the 15-hour interruption on Monday December 30, 2019 was due to exceptional circumstances. BWS has put in place several measures to ensure that situation of this nature does not recur.

BWS has implemented the following mitigation measures:
*Commissioned an electrical generator to run the plant and the distribution system
*Will commission a mobile 40,000 gallon per day Reverse Osmosis Plant by early February 2020
*Plans to install a larger capacity Reverse Osmosis Water Treatment Plant on North Caye Caulker within the next 2 – 3 years to meet the expected growth in demand.

However, BWS advises hotels and restaurants to utilize a storage tank to assure themselves of a backup supply in case of short unavoidable interruptions. BWS is aware that some customers utilize shallow wells for supply, but advises that the water from these wells does not meet potable standards and should not be interconnected with BWS supply. To assist customers with guidelines for plumbing in such situations, BWS is making the national plumbing codes available by sending copies to our Caye Caulker office for distribution and placing it on our website for download.

BWS takes this opportunity to express sincere gratitude to all those who assisted during this unfortunate occurrence. BWS extends commendations to our crews who worked tirelessly through extended hours to conduct the necessary repairs to the plant, those who assisted with the transportation and distribution of water and repairs to the distribution system. Special thanks are also extended to the Caye Caulker Village Council, especially the Chairlady who helped to ensure that water was delivered to those in critical need.

Most importantly, BWS extends appreciation to our customers and consumers in Caye Caulker for their patience and understanding exhibited during this period.

Customers are encouraged to report any water supply issues via BWS Toll Free at 0-800-CALL-BWS (0-800-2255-297) or WhatsApp 614-BWSL(614-2975).

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