Council praises community's water saving efforts
Members of the Isles of Scilly Council have praised islanders, businesses and visitors for their efforts in conserving water.
In a verbal and written update at Tuesday's Full Council meeting, Senior Manager for Infrastructure Craig Dryden thanked the community, saying that the fact that usage has gone down 6% in the last week is "particularly impressive given that we are in the busiest period of the summer" and that it is important to keep up the good work.
He said that the Authority's water team have been working "tirelessly" to ease the situation on both St Mary's and Bryher.
Local businesses and organisations were also praised for their co-operation in tackling the crisis. The Isles of Scilly Steamship Group was described as an "excellent ambassador" for allowing the Council to display water shortage messages on their screens on the Scillonian and at Land's End Airport. Meanwhile, local hotels and self-catering businesses have included notices in their welcome packs and on noticeboards, and some businesses have changed how they operate in order to save water (eg outsourcing their linen laundry to the mainland).
Councillor Marian Berkeley made special mention of how well Bryher's residents have done in restricting water usage, adding: "I'd like to thank them very much."
Craig also acknowledged co-operation from organisations such as Western Power, South West Water and the Civil Aviation Authority.
He said that the Council is working with South West Water, who have been collaborating with the operations team to help provide additional resilience, including the installation of monitoring equipment on St Mary’s to allow a better understanding of the situation in the island's wells. The same will also be done on Bryher.
He added: "They have also provided a backup generator for St Mary’s so in the event we get a power outage we now have a generator at the desalination plant. That’s really important because of the continuity of supply."
South West Water has also upgraded the electric cable to increase its capacity and effectiveness, as well as providing a selection of water saving devices.
Elsewhere, Western Power has postponed its planned works, servicing and testing that could interrupt power to the desalination plant. It has also avoided running the power station (except in an emergency) as the plant uses 67,000 litres of water a day when operating. In the case of an emergency, a contingency plan is in place to use seawater cooling utilising the Fire & Rescue service.
The Airport has also been granted dispensation from the CAA for routine testing and drills that require water and the Fire & Rescue Service have ceased all wet drills.
Cllr Steve Sims acknowledged the efforts of visitors, saying: "I just want to say there seems to be a very good awareness and take-up with visitors. One specific incident was the Theatre Club play last week. Nobody flushed the toilet all night. Not particularly pleasant but it certainly does the trick. If visitors are doing that all round, it’s saving an awful lot of water."
Council chairman Robert Francis made his own mention of the water situation at the start of the meeting, saying: "While a good effort is being made with regard to our water supply situation, I want Members to remain absolutely vigilant please… and make sure we don’t take our foot off the pedal with regard to our visitors and businesses and so on, so please keep up the effort."