The water supply crisis in Mauritius, particularly in the upper Plaine Wilhems region, is about to become more critical.
The Mare aux Vacoas reservoir, which yesterday was at only 38.4% of capacity, will not be able to supply any more potable water to the upper Plaine Wilhems area by November if the Central Water Authority continues to provide water once a day.
By mid-June, if there is no significant rainfall, the supply regime will be once every two days in this region. According to the authorities, this year’s drought is one of the most severe on record because it has extended over such a lengthy period.
The mean rainfall for 2011 has been extremely low when compared to the past two years and the water situation has been exacerbated by the change in rainfall patterns, with more rain falling over the Eastern and Northern regions rather than on the Central Plateau.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Public Utilities and Energy, Dr Rashid Beebeejaun, held a press conference yesterday in Port Louis to express the urgency of the situation facing the regions being supplied water by the Mare aux Vacoas.
He urged the population to understand the seriousness of the situation, to bear with the water cuts and to make judicial uses of water. He explained that the government will make available grants of Rs3,000 for families living in these regions to purchase a water tank.
“The government is meeting regularly to keep in touch the water situation and we are also coming up with urgent measures to prevent a drastic water crisis for these regions, namely Curepipe, Dagotiere, Moka, Quatre Bornes, Palma and Nouvelle Decouverte among others,” Dr Beebeejaun added.
“We have already awarded a contract to Sotravic Ltd for the creation of a water channel to link the Mare Longue reservoir to Mare aux Vacoas and construction work will kick-start next week.
“We are expecting the water channel to be operational by November and water from Mare Longue will be treated to supply the regions of the upper Plaines Wilhems. The channel will bring an additional 20,000 cubic metres of water to the network daily.”
Dr Beebeejaun said that all planters whose plantations will be affected by the construction of the channel will be compensated by the state.