Leak In Palau Requires Daily Water Rationing In Koror, Airai

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Supplies to be cut off while repairs are made

By Jose Rodriguez Senase

KOROR, Palau (Island Times, Oct. 14, 2014) – Palau is experiencing another water crisis after the Palau Public Utilities Corporation (PPUC) started implementing water rationing over the weekend.

A press release sent by PPUC to all media outlets on October 12, 2014 states that Ngerkesoal Tank – PPUC operations will be filling up the tank regularly and is required to stop distribution lines at KB bridge and implementing water hours starting today, October 12, 2014 at 3pm to 6am affecting Koror and Airai until further notice.

The PPUC says that this is the for whole afternoon and possibly entire nighttime depending on how fast PPUC crew can fill up tank levels in order to ensure adequate supply to the public.

The utility company is advising customers to seek alternate sources of water for the meantime during the water hours until further notice.

"We ask our customers for their assistance by suspending all non-essential use of water and just use water for home and essential uses. Please temporarily suspend washing of cars, walkways/sidewalks, buildings and etc," the press release states.

The press release says that entire Island of Koror and Airai only will have no water during these periods. It adds that certain high/low elevation areas like Ngerbeched and Ngerkesoal will have little or no water at all due to insufficient water pressure in these areas.

"Problems are with the transmission and/or distribution and not the supply systems [tanks] or the reservoir. We ask everyone for their patience while we work hard to correct these problems," the press release further states.

The PPUC press release says that "we are currently losing around 700 gpm - 800 gpm from this suspected leak which is similar to the leak discovered under the KB Bridge."

The cut-off of water supply to Koror and Airai States was sudden and surprised many people living in those places. Many have complained that the water that came out after the water hours was dirty and contaminated.

An official of the PPUC disclosed that the water line that caused the water rationing last year is the same one that leaked recently.

In October last year, a major leak occurred at the Koror-Airai waterline under the Japan-Palau (JP) Friendship Bridge.

The leak caused for water rationing to be implemented from October 13, 2013 to December 6, 2013 with the aim of replenishing water storage tanks.

Divers went under water to plug the leak with pipe sleeves bought from outside Palau.

"Divers went down and discovered that the same water line that was plugged before burst open this time," she stated.

The PPUC official said repairing the latest leak will take some time as the parts needed are not available here.

"PPUC personnel and divers are working now to find ways on how to repair the damaged water line the soonest time possible. Hopefully, it will be fixed soon and the water rationing will end," she added.

The PPUC says customer phone lines are available but may be frequently busy so please try again and report any leaks or any issues with your water supply.

"We will need this information to assist us in our planning and investigation. Please continue to call PPUC offices and listen to the radio for updated public information. PPUC Customer service – 488-3870/72/77," the press release concludes.

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