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HomeNewsLocal NewsWater Services Rep provides feedback on the newly established 24/7 Water Hotline

Water Services Rep provides feedback on the newly established 24/7 Water Hotline

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by Kevon Browne

St. Kitts and Nevis (WINN): The St. Kitts Water Services Department (SKWSD) operationalised the first dedicated 24/7 Customer Service Water Hotline and Emergency Crew on April 11, 2023.

Citizens and Residents can call 465-8000 to report leaks, and complaints, make inquiries and share important information with the department.

The hotline has been in operation for about two weeks at the time of reporting, and Che-Raina Warner – Communications Officer at the SKWSD, gave some feedback on the program so far.

“People have been calling; I can’t say that it’s been flooding… We’ll have to give ourselves a little bit more time. Give us maybe a month to really assess what the traction has been like. But people have been using it definitely. I’ve seen people refer to them making calls, alerting us to how many times they would have called via Facebook. They’ve indicated the quality of service that they’ve received from the operator, so that’s a plus. That’s an advantage. Of course, you’d want that if you’re calling, especially with a frustration, that at least the person who is receiving your concern is polite and receptive to you that you have a frustration and they’re showing some willingness to get it resolved. So I think we’re heading in the right direction.”

Warner shared that they have received calls about leaks but also indicated that water outages are the number one issue lodged with the hotline.

Cromwell Williams, Water Engineer with the SKWSD, explained the two main instances where citizens and residents experience an interruption in their water supply.

“There are two basic instances where people are without water; one is where we know because our workers might be in the area doing some maintenance work. And so they might close down a small area, maybe a street or a few streets. And there is also the instance when we would not know because sometimes a reservoir that feeds an area might have just run low, and so [people], especially the higher parts of that village or community, would suffer interruption, and we might not be aware because we are not really monitoring the reservoirs 24/7. Even though we can, to some extent, but you know, because of limitations manpower and so on.”

Williams continued, “When someone calls, we will then be able to give them the information. We will be able to say okay; after they would have checked with the technical staff, they will be able to say okay, well, you’re out of water, but it will be for maybe a next hour or two because they had to close down the system to do some maintenance in your area.”

As the main reason for using the hotline, communicating when the water supply would resume is vital to people in any community with an interruption. The Communications Officer said that while the Hotline is up and running, there are other avenues through which people can find out about the interruption in service and when the resource would return.

“I think the advantage of the hotline service is that yes, we can share notices, whether it is through the mainstream media, press releases, whether it is to Facebook, but in terms of real-time updates – we may put out a notice now, but then this situation is fluid, as it relates to water. We may say, for instance, that the estimated return time would be at one o’clock. But again, it’s subject to change. And with the fluidity and again, you can update on Facebook, yes, in a matter of minutes, the situation changes, and if you’re able to call in, you know both of them working in tandem would help to improve the communication.”

The Hotline has only been in operation for two weeks, and as such much information on statistics and patterns of water interruptions and other issues is not available for analysis; however, reports on the frequency of significant problems and concerns could inform where to invest in the build-out of the water services in the Federation.

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