European edition, Monday, July 30, 2007

NAPLES, Italy — Some residents of the Parco Eva government housing area in Teverola have gone without water over the past few months for 12 hours at a time, and sometimes longer.

Even as scorching summer temperatures touched the 100-degree mark, their faucets and spigots ran dry.

“And we’re not talking short outages,” said a frustrated mother whose daughter one day battled a stomach ailment during the water outage. “She was vomiting; diarrhea. Can you imagine not being able to flush the toilets?

“We’re talking 12 hours, sometimes 24 hours,” said the woman, who asked her name not be published for fear of retribution against her military husband.

To mitigate problems stemming from the outage — blamed on factors including poor water supply from local suppliers and overuse by the Parco residents in the 16-unit section — officials at Naval Support Activity found a short-term solution.

The base split the 1,000-euro cost of installing a 5,000-liter tank with the landlord of the complex, said housing director Linda Crusing. It was installed on Friday.

Waterlines from the town of Teverola used to refill the 20,000-liter cisterns that supply water to housing sections A through D flow beginning with section D, and eventually fill the cistern in section A.

If the town water pressure already is low or non-existent, the section A cistern wasn’t always refilled, Crusing explained.

“I sincerely regret that, again, you and your family are without an adequate water supply,” Capt. Floyd Hehe, the base commanding officer, wrote in a letter Thursday to the section A residents. “Each time a water shortage has occurred, we have acted, and believed the problem to be fixed. Yet problems continue.”

To help mitigate the problems, Hehe outlined following steps:

n Daily checks of the cisterns; and if water is needed, they will be filled.

n The addition of the 5,000-liter (nearly 1,321-gallon) water tank for section A.

n Regular checks of pipes that carry water from section D to section A to ensure they haven’t become calcified.

n A water conservation notice given to the residents in section A will be distributed to residents in the other three units.

Initially, only the residents within the section A housing received the notice asking for water conservation measures, inciting anger.

“We didn’t have any water. How could we conserve it?” the angered mother asked.

Crusing acknowledged the mistake, and said all residents of Parco Eva’s 69 units will be asked to cut back on water usage.

“There was a problem with them losing water,” Crusing said, especially on weekends.

Residents use more water at home then than at other times during the week, filling up their kiddie pools, watering lawns or washing their cars.

“We’re asking everyone to help us out and conserve water too,” Crusing said.

Long-term solutions include an engineering study to boost water flow, which could take several months, and drawing water from a well instead of cisterns to wash cars or water lawns.

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