Congress to fund Guam water plant
The Navy’s water woes on Guam officially are over — at least for now.
Scheduled water outages for Navy housing areas and Santa Rita and Agat villages have been canceled and a boil-water notice lifted, Navy officials announced Monday.
“Navy water production and reserve capacity have significantly improved,” Navy officials said in a news release Monday.
The boil-water notice and 8 p.m.-6 a.m. water outage took effect for about 922 Navy housing units almost a week ago. Sediment stirred up by Typhoon Chaba, which skirted Guam Aug. 22, plus weeks of rain prevented the aging Navy Water Treatment Plant from adequately filtering and producing water, forcing water outages and low water pressure.
For a short period, the Navy also shut off water to Guam Waterworks Authority customers, affecting villages such as Santa Rita and Agat.
Navy officials still encourage housing residents to continue to conserve water by turning off the tap when not in use and avoiding washing driveways or vehicles. They also warned that inclement weather or a significant increase in water use could cause another shortage. Guam Waterworks Authority customers are asked to contact GWA with any concerns, or to call 646-4211 or 647-7836 to report water leaks.
Navy officials said though water production may be touch-and-go for a while if rainy weather continues on Guam, they believe a long-term solution to the island’s water problem may have been found: Officials learned last week that Congress has approved $20 million to upgrade the Navy’s Guam water treatment plant, which they say should make water production consistent even throughout Guam’s infamous storms.
The current plant “was built during World War II,” said Lt. Arwen Consaul, spokeswoman for Commander Naval Forces Marianas. “Every time there’s too much rain, the filters get clogged and we have this same cycle over and over again.”
The water treatment upgrade is scheduled to begin in 2005 and finish the following year. The project will improve the plant’s ability to filter and clean water during and after heavy rains, and increase the Navy’s ability to produce more water consistently, Navy officials said.
The upgrade includes installing multiple chlorinating systems, Consaul said. “If one filter goes down, we’ll have another readily available.”