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SANTA RITA, Guam — Partial water restoration for residents in the southern part of Guam began Wednesday afternoon, five days after U.S. Navy officials had to shut down water supplies to thousands of homes and businesses, according to U.S. Navy and Guam Waterworks Authority officials.

On Wednesday afternoon, the Navy began supplying 1,300 gallons a minute to the Guam water system, close to what it normally pumps out from the Navy-controlled Fena Reservoir into the local system, according to a news release from U.S. Naval Forces Marianas.

The Navy had shut down that supply on Saturday after heavy rains caused water safety issues at the Fena Water Treatment Plant. It was the second time in two weeks that water supplies were disrupted.

Service to Navy facilities was not disrupted, according to Navy officials. The Navy has been following water conservation measures since April, Lt. Donnell Evans, spokesman for U.S. Naval Forces Marianas, said in a statement released late Tuesday.

The Navy “recognizes the impact that these reduced levels of supply have on GWA and its customers,” the Tuesday statement said. “The GWA demand for water has increased significantly over the last five years. The increased demand, coupled with the EPA water quality standard changes over this same period, have taxed the water plant’s ability to meet the current supply demands.”

GWA officials decided Wednesday to pump the restored water to Santa Rita and Agat, two of the larger communities affected by the shutdown, said Heidi Ballendorf, spokeswoman for the water authority.

The Navy’s water plant, built in the 1950s, can produce from 8 million to 11.5 million gallons of water daily, depending on the reservoir’s water quality, Evans said in his statement.

When water quality worsens, such as during last weekend’s heavy rains, filtration and production systems slow, Evans said.

The Navy keeps 13 storage reservoirs full of treated water on reserve but that reserve doesn’t always outlast production problems, according to his statement. That storage water also must be on hand for fire protection and power plant needs, he stated.

GWA buys up to 5 million gallons of water each day from the Navy to serve thousands of homes in Santa Rita, Agat, Piti and other towns in central and southern Guam. When that supply is cut, GWA is responsible for providing residents and businesses with alternatives.

As of Wednesday, it was unknown when full water service would be restored.

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