Islanders To be Asked To Save Water As New Plant Underperforms

desalination plant signThe Council is to bring back its giant ‘water barometer’ outside the Town Hall.

Chairman Amanda Martin made the call at last night’s General Purposes Meeting. Councillors heard that the new desalination plant is producing 20% less water than expected and islanders need to save water.

Amanda says the off-islands have plenty of signs about saving water but there aren’t many on St Mary’s.

She said the barometer, which showed water levels on St Mary’s, was “a good, easy graphic” to help people understand the situation and she disagreed with the argument that it discouraged visitors.

It was a much talked about fixture in the 70s and 80s.

At the time the Council also advised on the need to flush less often. But last night, Committee Chairman Steve Sims said there was no need to bring back the old slogan, “if it’s yellow let it mellow, if it’s brown flush it down.”

Members were told by the Senior Manager for Infrastructure, Craig Dryden, that iron had contaminated the new boreholes feeding the desalination plant, installed last year at a cost of £480,000, meaning it couldn’t run at full capacity.

Last October, the former Chief Technical Officer was given approval to fit a £40,000 system to remove the iron, which was meant to solve the problem, but the filters are still getting blocked.

That means they have to be replaced more often at a cost of up to £20,000 a month.

The Council will now bring in the original contractors to determine if water can be extracted directly from the sea, rather than from boreholes. Craig says the costs of any modifications will be met from the water reserves.

Councillors voted to implement water saving measures and to bring back the barometer.

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