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Causes of water service interruptions on Formentera

This morning, Tuesday, in the plenary hall of the Formentera Council, councillor of the environment, Silvia Tur, together with Maria Yern, head of Aqualia's offices in Formentera, thanked residents for their patience and apologised for the “four service interruptions that took place in ten days.”

Councillor Tur described the current phase of the Council's work on the matter as “information collection” and affirmed that her hope was to “share the resulting explanations with the local population”. Tur alluded to the idea of holding accountable those workers who were responsible for the interruptions, noting, “if we do, it will be announced”, while underscoring the fact that “for now the goal is to ascertain what exactly happened in each case.”

Friday 28 November

The first disruption occurs at 12 noon on 28 November. A backhoe loader – commonly referred to as a 'digger' – perforates the municipal water line located along carrer Sant Antoni in Sant Francesc, leading to inundations along the main road (PM-820).

The backhoe loader is property of the Islasfalto Ltd. company, which is currently overseeing operations to supply the island's industrial park with a separate electric line.

Service workers are able to shut the nearest service valve, located not far from the hospital roundabout on the plot of land occupied by the Formentera Day Centre.

By 3:30pm, repairs are completed and the valve is reopened. However, at this point, workers note that the valve can no longer be opened completely, making its partial replacement necessary. In light of the additional repairs, water services are not re-established until 6:30pm.

Sunday 30 November

At 11am on 30 November, new reports are received that the water service has once again been interrupted in Sant Francesc and Ses Bardetes. Service workers confirm that water pump number one has ceased to function and for the moment are unable to re-establish service.

Workers finally manage to restore the pump to working order at 1:30pm, only to be notified at 7pm that water service is again inoperative. Workers proceed to a temporary replacement of pump number one with pump number two, but are unable to start the latter.

Service workers continue their attempts until the early hours of the morning, but the system cannot be restituted.

Monday 1 December, confirmation is received that the source of service interruptions is a damaged frequency inverter, produced by a power surge during recent storms. The frequency inverter is replaced and at 12 noon the issue is classified as resolved.

Sunday 7 December

Although the written technical report has not yet been made available, Aqualia sources have released the following information:

On Saturday 26 November, a failure occurs in the automated control system, leading Aqualia to instead contact Abaqua and manually request 627 tonnes of water from the desalination plant in order to fill the Sant Ferran reservoir. The reservoir receives 127 tonnes – 500 less than requested.

Aqualia sources have confirmed that there is nothing unusual about the 26 November request and admit that no attempts are made Saturday to ensure the Sant Ferran reservoir indeed receives the water that has been asked for.

On Sunday morning, the Sant Ferran reservoir is drained completely, provoking a disruption to the water service in Sant Francesc, Ses Bardetes, La Savina and Sant Ferran that lasts two hours.

Maria Yern has informed the Council that, during the four service disruptions, the Aqualia customer service line (902 136 013) received twelve calls from Formentera residents.

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