The Commonwealth Utilities Corp. did not shut off the CNMI’s water supply at 3pm yesterday but said in a statement that it may do so later yesterday when water operations personnel determine when conditions are approaching a dangerous level.
Also, CUC said it will only shut off water from each of its storage tanks if it is determined that doing so will assure that they remain full and will not be damaged by the high winds.
Power would also not be terminated yesterday evening, “unless there are system fluctuations that may damage the power distribution system in a particular zone and if wind escalates to a hazardous level and requires a system shut down.” The statement said that power will be turned off to protect the employees, power plant and the electrical grid.
CUC emphasized that the public should also be aware that any information regarding updates on CUC services will only be disseminated by CUC. This came soon after unverified rumors swirled in many social media platforms about CUC shutting off the power and water supplies yesterday in preparation for Typhoon Hagibis.
CUC will later assess damage to the water distribution system.
In cases of damage to the water and power distribution systems, CUC executive director Gary P. Camacho said that critical areas/customers will be brought online first such as hospitals, emergency shelters, and other places.
Camacho asked customers to conserve water by limiting their use.
“During this time, customers may experience low pressures and/or periods of no water service,” he said.
For safety precautions and water conservation, Camacho advised customers leaving their home for safer locations or shelters to shut off their electrical main breakers and water valve.
Camacho encouraged the public to be alert to electrical, water, and wastewater safety concerns around the island.
Camacho advised the public never to touch a power line, and never go near high voltage lines that are dangling, fallen, on fences, in trees, on roadways and/or on vehicles.
“As winds pick up, the likelihood for sparking or down electrical lines increases, causing electrical and safety hazards,” he said.
Camacho advised customers to ensure that water tanks are full in anticipation for water shortage and/or rationing after the storm.
He also urged customers to chlorinate water properly by adding six drops of unscented liquid chlorine “bleach” per gallon of water.
“Laundry breach of the concentration of 5.25 percent to 6 percent should be the only active ingredient. There should not be any added soap or fragrances. After, let treated water sit for 30 minutes before use,” he said.
People with septi tanks are encouraged to empty their tanks to avoid possible health problems and overflowing.