Water outages increase in Southern Guam - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Water outages increase in Southern Guam

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 by Jolene Toves

Guam - As the Guam Waterworks Authority reduces the amount of water purchased from Fena there has been an increase in the amount of water outages in the south.

Imagine just finishing shampooing your hair and then the water goes out, or trying to prepare dinner and there is little to no water pressure. That is the reality that some southern residents are experiencing, like Santa Rita resident John Santos, who said, "There are times when there is no water at all we'll call in wake up 4am there is no water we will call in when the water does come back in the afternoon by late evening it would start to go low. The quality of water used to be clear now it is murky you can taste it you can see it, it's a total different flavor. This morning for example if we get up by five in the morning its strong by probably 5:30-6 o'clock its already out."

For the past six years GWA has been diverting water from the Northern Aquifer to residents in Agat and Santa Rita and it was working well according to GWA spokesperson Heidi Ballendorf until now. "The issue now has become the less we buy from the Navy the more challenges we have with the breaks they are very old lines down there and when you are constantly maneuvering valves that's when we are having more breaks," she explained.

Since the Navy implemented a 40% rate hike the Consolidated Commission on Utilities and GWA have been reducing the amount of water derived from Fena Lake by moving water down from the Northern Aquifer as a result the antiquated pipes have broke four times in less than two weeks, leaving residents dry. "Constantly calling GWA dispatch we let them know but pretty much everyone in the village can see the guy down in the corner with the key shifting water, so you just don't know when you are going to have water or not have water," said Santos.

But waking up with no water is not his only concern Santos says there are times when water spurts out with air which he fears will damage his water pipes. "It kind of hurts this morning with all of the water shooting out with the air at the same time it damages pretty much its going to damage our pipes you can even hear it on the other account it hurts being in the village of Santa Rita knowing for a fact that Fena Lake is in your back yard and yet we are getting our water from the north," he added.

For residents like Santos it's about having the basic service of water when you need it and according to Ballendorf it is something GWA intends to fix. "So we are trying to mitigate that we are going to hopefully do a major line replacement program sometime this year," she stated.

She says they will be using bond money to fund line replacement projects. 
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