The executive president of the Puerto Rico Aqueduct & Sewer Authority (PRASA), Doriel Pagán Crespo, affirmed that the public corporation has taken all necessary measures to face the new hurricane season that began today.
"Our process of updating the plans for the hurricane season begins in March, as part of the emergency management plan established in the event of an atmospheric event. We review from the most basic to the most complicated, installation by installation," the engineer stated.
She explained that the water production and distribution systems, the supply of materials to operate the structures and the maintenance of the equipment are inspected. In addition to other priority areas of focus, such as emergency generators, reservoir management and communication.
The official added that “last year we started the season with 900 generators. After completing an auction for the purchase and installation of 216 generators, and through an investment of $25 million, this year we have 1,116 installed and operable generators."
In addition, about 200 additional generators will be rented during the peak of the hurricane season, bringing the total to about 1,316 available.
"As always, the mayors are our allies and for this purpose we are making an understanding agreement so that those generators that municipal executives have can be used in PRASA facilities, and then they can be claimed from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)," she reported.
Pagán noted that about 20 mayors have already shown interest in signing the agreement. “All these efforts are aimed at keeping critical facilities in operation as far as possible; being those dams, filter plants, primary distribution tanks, and sewerage plants," the official said.
Regarding the communication system, Pagán Crespo revealed that “PRASA's communications and IT systems have been strengthened. Our first communication option is our VOIP telephony (Cisco) and later, cell phones. Of both options not being available, we have identified analogous lines."
“We also have 70 satellite phones, 15 outdoor antennas and we have installed 25 P25 radio units to maintain communication between COE-SEDE and the three main reservoirs: Carraízo, La Plata and Toa Vaca. We also installed a data network with solar energy to maintain communication between the main reservoirs and the headquarters," she said.
Moreover, personnel from the Emergency Management offices of 18 municipalities that are located downstream of the dams have received training to review the work plans and stages before, during, and after an atmospheric event.
"In the same way, we have guided our employees on the behavior of the hydrological basins, the management of high flow of water received in the reservoirs and the procedures in case of opening of gates, among others. The reservoirs and dams have already been inspected to verify their optimal operation," Pagán asserted.