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Southern islanders feel neglected with water service

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For far too long, residents in Guam's southern villages claim, they've been neglected when it comes to the quality of their utility services, most recently during the tropical storm over the weekend. And in response, the Governor's Office has stepped-in to help correct the contradictory and  longstanding problem of water going out at the worst possible time.

"You know, I am not blaming the workers. It's hard to say how we feel everybody feels weird when we get the experiences, especially when we are not experiencing hard damages here on Guam," said Glen Meno, who lives in Inarajan. It's a recurring problem for residents who live in the southern part of the island to be left without water as a result of a passing storm. Although Meno did not want his face  to be shown on television, he did share that he feels southern residents have been forgotten.

"We went maybe all day until midnight, maybe twelve hours. We shouldn't with the flood. I understand, you know, with this hard rain I mean, [EXPLETIVE]! With these years they have been upgrading the system what has been going on?" said Meno.

Last Saturday afternoon during Condition of Readiness Two the Joint Information Center announced that the Guam Waterworks Authority secured the Ugum Water Treatment Plant. They had also announced water outages in Agat and Santa Rita due to a main water line break.  Although Ugum went back online after Tropical Storm Goni, it went back offline because of high turbidity levels. 

Thankfully for Meno, his water has been restored. Yet he has many unanswered questions. "It's good - I am glad it's back but we should not even experience it with this kind, you know what I am saying? These kinds of water breaks we were experiencing way back in Condition 1 where its typhoon, but now it only considered tropical storm," he shared.

As a result of their office flooded with calls regarding the water problems in the south, the Governor's Office reactivated the Joint Information Center to ensure residents receive timely and accurate information with "compassionate public service".   According to the governor's' communications director Oyal Ngirairikl, as part of this effort teams from the Governor's Office made their way down to Umatac and Merizo to hear concerns from residents first hand. Governor Eddie Calvo says there has to be a sense of urgency and he wants leadership to be visible.

According to Ngirairikl, as of 4:30 Tuesday afternoon residents in Umatac and 40% of residents in Merizo are still without water - two days after the storm. As for GWA, spokesperson Heidi Ballendorf says that while the broken pipe has been fixed and the Ugum Water Treatment Plant is pumping clean drinking water through the pipes water must be released slowly to avoid busting the fragile waterlines.    

The Governor's Office is hopeful that water restoration will be completed this evening. Governor Calvo will be meeting with the Consolidated Commission on Utilities to discuss a solution to the reoccurring water issues.

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