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Southern residents furious about water

by Michele Catahay

Guam - Residents say they're frustrated with the water situation down south. For the past several weeks, the Guam Waterworks Authority has issued notices that portions in the island's southern villages would be experiencing low-to-no water pressure...GWA now says the notice will continue up until Tuesday.

Yona resident Mary Ann Laurel says water has going on and off for the last several weeks in her area. In fact, she says the situation has become constant that her family has had to conserve water by filling coolers, buckets and pitchers to ensure they have enough to cook, and take showers. She says GWA shuts off her water just before dinnertime.  "You can't take a shower, you can't cook, you can't use the restroom and when it does come on, it comes on at around 11pm or midnight. It's a real inconvenience for my mom, my niece, my family and myself," she told KUAM News.

GWA says reservoirs down south are at a half-capacity. The situation has gotten so bad that water from the north has been moved to gain capacity to supply the daily demand. Areas affected include those living in Umatac, Merizo, Inarajan, Malojloj, Route 17, Talofofo, Windward Hills, Yona, Route 4 and Route 10, Chalan Pago and the Upper Santa Ana region of Agat.

GWA General Manager Dr. Len Olive says while Guam is experiencing a drought, it's been difficult for wells to stay at full capacity.  "We are struggling with aquifer levels in different areas. We are responding by cutting back production of some of our wells. To exacerbate the problems, we've had a couple of water wells go out earlier in the month. We've had some issues over at Ugum," he stated.

While GWA is hoping to have everything back to normal by Tuesday, GWA Assistant General Manager of Operations Jesse Lujan says it may be pushed back to later in the week.  "We're still pushing for Tuesday to get back to normal to recover services throughout that area. But we probably would want to push the water outage schedule back to Thursday, so at least it gives us more time in the week to recover."

In the meantime, Olive says his agency is working around the clock to ensure water is flowing smoothly despite the drought on island.  "We have a minimum of four of five people on the ground 24/7 watching and tweaking the system and balancing the system so everyone can have water with reasonable pressures," he continued.

Tankers are available across St. Joseph's Church in Inarajan, the Umatac Subdivision, and the Transworld Radio Station in Santa Ana. For more information, contact GWA's Trouble Dispatch Emergency Line at 646-4211 or 646-7319.

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