‘Saipan back to 100-pct., 24-hour water’

Saipan customers of the Commonwealth Utilities Corp. are now back to 100-percent, 24-hour water supply islandwide, according to CUC deputy director William Gilmore.

“We are very happy with the way things are. We know there are a few isolated areas that are still affected and those are being worked on. But it’s very few,” said Gilmore Friday.

He said they still encounter a few incidents when some areas lose water, but he said CUC usually responds “very quickly.”

Before Super Typhoon Yutu hit Saipan and Tinian last Oct. 24 and 25, CUC was already providing the island 100-percent, 24-hour water supply, he said.

Shortly after Yutu, he said, the water supply dropped because they lost power and relied on generator power.

Gilmore said they gradually went back online and 95 percent of their customers basically got their water supply by Dec. 25 and 26, 2018.

However, the water supply at the time was spotty, he said, because they were having problems with main breaks and other issues.

Last Jan. 13, they became more confident because the water wells were back on island power and not relying on the generators of the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

“Last Jan. 13, we’re back to what we declare 24-hour water,” he said.

Gilmore also disclosed that their non-revenue water—unaccounted and wasted water—went down from the 73-77 percent in November, to 63 percent now.

Gilmore said they expect to get back to the pre-Yutu level—which was about 50 percent— by “staying consistent and diligently maintaining the assets that we got out there.”

Gilmore said they have another project that they are going to start that will help them improve the non-revenue numbers, which would basically involve removing water leaks.

He said that since they are back with 100-percent, 24-hour water supply, they want to be consistent.

Gilmore said they changed the hydraulic system so that they can better supply water.

“We have been monitoring [water] pressures at the various tank areas. And we have been identifying where we have to adjust the systems,” he said.

Ferdie De La Torre | Reporter
Ferdie Ponce de la Torre is a veteran journalist who has covered all news beats in the CNMI. Born in Lilo-an, Cebu City in the Philippines, De la Torre graduated from the University of Santo Tomas with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. He is a recipient of many commendations and awards, including the CNMI Judiciary’s prestigious Justice Award for his over 10 years of reporting on the judiciary’s proceedings and decisions. Contact him at ferdie_delatorre@saipantribune.com
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