Senator Samuel Carrion has called for immediate action to address the escalating water quality crisis on St. Croix. In a heartfelt letter addressed to Governor Albert A. Bryan Jr, Senator Carrion implored the Governor to consider declaring a State of Emergency to bring relief to residents.
“It is with a sense of urgency and a deep concern for our residents that I respectfully request you consider declaring a State of Emergency for St. Croix due to the critical water supply and quality issues that we are currently facing,” Senator Carrion wrote on September 1, 2023. “Water is an essential necessity of life, and the current situation on St. Croix is simply becoming intolerable. The Virgin Islands Water and Power Authority is the primary source of water for many of our residents, however, in recent months, both the quality and availability of water are increasingly problematic.”
WAPA testified on Thursday that there was no clear or immediate solution for St. Croix’s water crisis, which has been caused by rusted pipes, drought, and an influx of sargassum seaweed.
“The burden of continually paying for WAPA water that is often below standard places a financial strain on the ratepayers, many of whom are already facing economic challenges. It is unfair for them to continue to bear the financial brunt of a problem that is wholly beyond their control,” Senator Carrion wrote.
To address this pressing issue, Senator Carrión suggested the following actions:
- Implementing immediate relief measures for ratepayers, including suspending or reducing water bills for a specified period.
- Establishing water distribution centers on St. Croix to ensure residents can access clean and safe water.
- Addressing the root causes of the water supply issues and invest in long-term solutions to ensure a reliable and sustainable water system for St. Croix.
“The health and well-being of the island's residents must remain the utmost priority,” Senator Carrion said. “The water situation on St. Croix demands immediate attention. Continuing to charge ratepayers for brown, smelly virtually unusable water is simply unconscionable.”