Members of parliament have joined WASCO officials to get a firsthand view of the situation confronting the John Compton Dam.
The Government of Saint Lucia recently declared a water-related emergency for the island’s north and members of parliament were able to see tangible evidence on Tuesday, April 22, the reason for the declaration.
At a planned tour of the John Compton Dam, members of both the Upper and Lower Houses joined officials from the island’s water utility company, the Water and Sewerage Company, WASCO, on an inspection of the facility. The visitors were able to see the level of siltation which is preventing the dam from realizing its full storage and supply distribution capacity.
“We really have to bring people here to see just how compromised this dam is; just how much material (is clogging it). Saying that the dam has a capacity of three million cubic metres and half of it is silt. Those numbers don’t really mean anything to them. You have to be here to see the mass of silt, the boulders, the trees that are in the reservoir, the slopes around it that are compromised for you to really appreciate how big a problem it is,” said Sen. Dr. James Fletcher, Minister responsible for Public Utilities.
With the level of siltation currently inside the reservoir, the consensus is, the situation is of major concern. Leading Tuesday’s visit was Prime Minister and Minister for Finance, Economic Affairs and Social Security Dr. Kenny D. Anthony.
The prime minister initially made the call for first a local media visit of the dam to bring the gravity of the situation to the people of Saint Lucia and then proposed the tour by members of parliament.
Following the water emergency declaration, Dr. Fletcher said WASCO was working diligently towards addressing the situation affecting mostly the north of the island. He noted that the water utility was re-commissioing intakes which would feed the Ciceron treatment plant, and another in the Ravine Poisson area which would provide more water to help ease the heavy demand on the dam.
Tuesday’s visit to the dam was well attended by members of parliament and included both the speaker of the house and president of the Senate.