Restrooms at the Francisco C. Ada/Saipan International Airport have had no water in the last couple of weeks-a situation that has not only affected the operations of the airport's tenants but also travel agents who have been trying to persuade tourists to visit the CNMI.
Affected tenants and workers at the airport disclosed to Saipan Tribune yesterday morning that it was about two weeks when they started experiencing interrupted water supply, mostly in the restrooms, forcing them to bring their own water.
A female employee of one of the airport's tenants who requested not to be named disclosed that “water was only made available to these restrooms when there is a scheduled flight that is coming into the CNMI, which is usually from 8am through 1pm, depending on the scheduled flights.”
A concerned community member who happened to witness the situation also told Saipan Tribune yesterday that the “restroom situation” is very embarrassing for the CNMI, which is trying to woo more tourists.
Other affected tenants and airport employees said the situation is due to “unresolved” leaks in the piping and drainage systems at the airport, resulting in some clogging in the restrooms. They said CPA sent notices to all tenants about the situation.
The Commonwealth Ports Authority is the agency handling the operation and maintenance of the airport. Airport manager Ed Mendiola did not answer his phone yesterday, while CPA executive director Edward Deleon Guerrero did not return calls.
According to Marianas Visitors Authority managing director Perry Tenorio, the tourism body, along with other concerned agencies, was notified by CPA about the situation. He said CPA “is in the best position” to address the problem, citing the separation of agency functions.
Tenorio admitted that the “restroom situation” at the airport is not the first time because a similar situation happened before. He's confident that the situation will soon be addressed.
Saipan Tribune learned that CPA also informed the governor's office about the lack of water at the airport. This was confirmed by press secretary Angel Demapan yesterday. He said that CPA was only able to restore the water supply yesterday.
“The administration has been made aware of this situation. The administration has also been informed by the Commonwealth Ports Authority that the agency is already handling this matter. The governor and lieutenant governor are hopeful that CPA, an autonomous agency, will act expeditiously to rectify this situation,” Demapan told Saipan Tribune.
The press secretary, in a separate email yesterday afternoon, said, “CPA has advised that running water has been restored at the airport.”