Check your tank regularly — that’s the message from the Bermuda Government as we head into the summer.
Failure to monitor the water level in your tank can not only lead to you running out of water but to damage to your pump, incurring extra expense which could easily have been avoided.
Tarik Christopher, principal civil engineer for water at the Ministry of Public Works, recommends people set a datum point or line at which they should order in more water.
In the winter he says he checks his tank every few weeks, but in the summer he picks a day where he checks his tank once a week.
Mr Christopher said islanders are more aware of conserving water than they used to be, but that they don’t check their tanks enough.
This then results in a peak demand when large numbers of residents run out at the same time.
“If we don’t have any rain for three weeks to a month, all of a sudden there’s an instantaneous peak demand,” said Mr Christopher.
“This is because the majority of people don’t tend to monitor their tanks, so they all discover their tanks are empty at the same time.
“Then they call the truckers saying they need emergency water.
“We (Government) have copious amounts of water, but it’s very difficult for the truckers and our outlets to provide that amount of water in a timely manner.”
Bermuda is one of the few places in the world that uses a roof catchment and tank system to harvest rainwater.
Our water supply is 41 per cent rainwater, 35 per cent treated groundwater, 12 per cent treated seawater (reverse osmosis), eight per cent groundwater from private wells, and six per cent from small treatment plants.
Government produces 200 million gallons of water a year from fresh and brackish ground waters, or lenses.
It operates four water treatment plants and manages five reservoirs.
The reservoirs are situated at: Tudor Hill, Southampton; Fort Victoria, St George’s; Devon Springs, Devonshire; and there are two at Prospect, Devonshire.
Two-thirds of the estimated 21,000 households in Bermuda do not have a well or pumped water supply from a mains, such as that supplied by Bermuda Waterworks.
They are therefore dependent on harvested rainwater in their tanks, but in times of prolonged dry periods, they rely on the 45 water truckers on the island.
Government manages water trucker outlets, or bulk filling stations, at: Prospect, Devonshire; Tynes Bay, North Shore; Port Royal, Southampton; and St George’s.
Mr Christopher said: “At the moment we are meeting demand as it stands.
“Our central trucker outlets are open 24 hours-a-day but if demand gets very high, or instantaneous demand outstrips production, we shut them overnight to replenish the tanks.
“The challenge last year was that instantaneous demand was outstripping our ability, and the water truckers’ ability, to meet demand.
“This year we will do better than last summer, because we have more production and have made some improvements.
“The public is more aware of conserving water than it used to be, especially as in the last couple of years we’ve had a dry summer.
“But we still get this instantaneous demand because people are not checking their tanks.
“So, look in your tank at the level where you would reorder your water, so you can give the water truckers time to deliver to you before you run out.
“Have datum points in your tank.
“Monitor the tank level over the summer but don’t order copious amounts, just what you think is necessary.
“Each person has to manage their tank to avoid the situation of running out.
“If you run out of water you can also burn out your pump, and then a lot of problems will cascade, so always check your tank.”
• For more information contact the Ministry of Public Works on 278-0570. For water connection, supply problems and emergencies call 297-7637. Click here for advice on ensuring a safe, healthy water supply. If you have a water quality or safety enquiry, contact the Department of Health at 278-4976 or 236-0224.