Jersey desalination plant to be switched on

Val de la Mare reservoir
Image caption The Val de la Mare reservoir was emptied so a watertight membrane could be fitted to the dam

Low rainfall this autumn has forced Jersey Water to decide to switch on its desalination plant for the first time in five years.

The plant will start making drinking water from the sea on Wednesday.

October's rainfall has been only 29% of the long-term average and the amount of water stored in reservoirs is at 36.5%.

Work to fit a watertight membrane at Val de la Mar reservoir has finished and it is being gradually refilled.

But the company said it needed to run the desalination plant, which provides just under a third of daily supplies.

Hard to predict

Howard Snowden, managing director of Jersey Water, said the company had warned it may need to use the desalination plant, if the dry weather continued, and they had been preparing it over the past month.

He said: "As a precaution, we are going to run it for the next week, initially at 50% capacity."

But he said October was usually the second wettest month of the year, but Jersey was still waiting for the significant rainfall needed at this time of year.

Mr Snowden said: "Although rain is forecast over the coming week, rainfall patterns are becoming increasingly harder to predict, so we cannot take the risk of the storage capacity being further diminished."

He asked islanders to use water sensibly.

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