The dry season in the Northern Marianas, which begins in December and ends in June, is already having an effect on the water supply of the Commonwealth Utilities Corp.
According to a statement yesterday, CUC said the dry weather condition is impacting its normal balancing act of excess-to-sufficient supply volumes from the CUC well fields.
With the current number of projects in play and the dry season beginning, CUC takes on an additional task of monitoring volume of water supply and how best to distribute water for each Tank Service Area.
For example, the Agag well and Donni Spring, which draws from the same aquifer, are not producing its normal water production due to supply or less rainfall. As a result, supply to the Capital Hill area is decreased which lowers tank levels in the Capital Hill, Rapagao, Puerto Rico, and Calhoun tanks and lower pressures being delivered to those customers.
Essentially, as the height of water in the tank rises at night, the pressure rises until consumption exceeds supply and the pressures fall off. Flow from Agag and Donni Spring needs to increase to satisfy normal pressures and supply to Capital Hill, Rapagao, Puerto Rico, and Calhoun.
CUC has the same issues with the San Vicente tank supply level because of the newly started capital project to replace San Vicente Tank with a new and larger 750,000-gallon tank. The recently completed temporary tank of 70,000 gallons has been connected to the distribution system for the San Vicente area and it also feeds the Obyan area, which is on scheduled water hours between 9am and 3pm daily. During this time, the Dandan area is affected by lower pressures because the supply is gravity-fed to Obyan to provide them with adequate supply for six hours each day. The San Vicente tank supply source comes primarily from Kagman through the Papago tank and Kumoi booster. CUC is close to completing the new Kagman Booster Station with an improved pumping system, but the completion date has been extended from October 2020 to April 2021 because of a problem at the manufacturer of the control system, which cannot be rushed and delivery was impacted resulting in a delay in the time as well. The new booster station will double the available volume of water to Papago and then San Vicente as early as April which will improve pressures for San Vicente and potentially the Dandan and Obyan areas.
Even prior to this issue, CUC’s water supply was already faced with the shutdown of 10 wells in its Isley and Obyan well fields near the airport, which had high levels of PFOA/PFOS contaminants, which had to be turned off to avoid causing negative health impacts to its customers. The project is now on course to begin installation of the 10 granular activated carbon units in mid-February which, as each is completed, a well can be returned to service and improve supply to the As Terlaje water tank that serves Kannat Tabla tank as well. This alone will allow CUC to begin redistributing water to various adjacent TSA’s to help improve supply and pressures for the overall system.
CUC will be monitoring the supply levels as the dry season carries on and may at some time require scheduling water for an area of the customer service area based on the status of the wells and supply to the various tanks.
“This is a constant balancing act as we pull water from one service area to another but it can be managed and supplies extended suitably to meet the demand of our customers,” a CUC statement said.
Also, at the present time, CHCC has full tank levels available to it and the backup well is working if needed.
Customers are advised to contact CUC’s Call Center at (670) 664-4282 for additional information and/or any problems affecting the water system.
For more information, contact the CUC Customer Hotline (236-4333) or monitor its Facebook page for the latest updates (https://www.facebooLcom/CommonwealthUti I itiesCorporation/). (PR)