• The Star Staff

Water rationing set for Thursday. Here’s which towns will be affected

By Pedro Correa Henry

Twitter: @PCorreaHenry

Special to The Star

Puerto Rico Aqueducts and Sewers Authority (PRASA) President Doriel Pagán Crespo urged citizens on Monday to be cautious with their water consumption, as 140,000 clients are going to be affected by a service interruption plan on account of the low water levels in the Carraízo reservoir.

The following plan will take place starting Thursday (July 2) at 9 a.m. Clients who get their potable water from the Sergio Cuevas Filtration Facility will experience a 24-hour on-and-off interruption. PRASA divided the area into two zones, A and B, in order to determine a uniform system of interruption and restoration. This phase will affect parts of San Juan, Trujillo Alto, Carolina and Canóvanas.

“As a pre-emptive measure to manage the water shortage of the reservoir, we will begin the period of programmed interruptions for the sectors that are supplied by the Carraízo reservoir, which provides water to the largest population in the metropolitan area,” Pagán Crespo said. “We reiterate the call to make prudent use of water and we urge you to be moderate in your consumption. We must conserve water.”

In response to questions from the press, the PRASA president said citizens must keep calm in the situation. Although many clients might have their water service interrupted, she insisted that they should not overreact by storing excessive amounts of water, as this could decrease the reseroir’s water levels.

“For months, we have reported, educated and made announcements to raise awareness on this issue. We are not asking citizens to not store water, but rather to be wise in storing what you need for the interruption phase,” she said. “Despite finding ourselves at this point, we will keep working with the same sensibleness and commitment.”

Pagán Crespo also advised the public to follow PRASA’s social media accounts and stay alert, as they will announce when the interruptions start and how clients can supply themselves at around 23 oasis spots that will be available during this stage. She also confirmed that she will be in touch with the mayors of the affected municipalities regarding the situation.

The press conference took place after Gov. Wanda Vázquez Garced declared an islandwide state of emergency for drought. Executive Order 2020-049 orders the Public Safety Department to carry out the interagency coordination of executive actions and planning, mitigation, response and recovery techniques to comprehensively address the declaration of drought emergency, with the advice of various government agencies. In order to take action on and monitor the situation, every agency must follow the Protocol for Drought Management in Puerto Rico 2018.

Up to $2,500 fine for inappropriate water usage During the press conference, the PRASA chief submitted an administrative order which details certain prohibitions on water usage amid the rationing that was announced for the 140,000 clients who are supplied by the Carraízo reservoir.

“The following order will restrict undue use of water such as using hoses or pressure washing equipment … washing automobiles, motorcycles,” Pagán Crespo said. “This will apply in the municipalities categorized as under moderate or severe drought.”

Likewise, the order imposes a $250 fine for a first incidence, $1,000 for a second and $2,500 for a third. However, from July 1 to July 15, PRASA will conduct an orientation campaign to inform their clients as to wha activities will be regulated. Then, starting July 16, the agency will impose penalty fees for violations.

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