AquaGib Reverse Osmosis Plant Currently Not Operational

The Government says the AquaGib Reverse Osmosis plant is not currently operational as the cable that supplies power to the plant has been disconnected as a safety measure. It is expected that once the fire is extinguished, the plant can return to normal operations.

A spokesperson said: "The Government is actively working with GFRS, AquaGib and GibElec to explore every possible contingency in the unlikely event that this not possible. A second AquaGib plant remains fully operational. Two contingency meetings were held at No 6 Convent Place yesterday, a third was held this morning and a further is scheduled for this afternoon."

1 Like

Fresh water conservation measures introduced, including overnight restriction

Measures to conserve the existing potable water reserve and maintain water pressure have been put in place.

These will involve the restriction of the water supply to non essential premises between 11pm and 7am.

This follows damage caused to AquaGib and GibElec infrastructure as a result of the fire inside Power's Drive Tunnel.

REVERSE OSMOSIS PLANT NOT OPERATIONAL

The fire has caused a significant rockfall inside the tunnel which has come to light this afternoon, causing damage to AquaGib and GibElec infrastructure.

The AquaGib reverse osmosis plant has not been operational since Tuesday due to the loss of power. Works are in place to restore normal operations to the plant as soon as power is restored which is expected later tonight. AquaGib are working with the Fire and Rescue Service who are providing safe access to investigate and assess any potential damage to its pipework. The full extent of any damage will not be known until power is restored and water can be pumped through.

If the pipework is damaged, repairs could take up to 5 days before AquaGib can resume normal production, and so existing reserves need to be carefully managed over the coming days.

MEASURES INTRODUCED

In order to ensure supply to essential services and to the public, temporary measures have been put in place in order to conserve the existing potable water reserve and maintain water pressure.

All fresh water supply to non-essential premises will be restricted from 11pm tonight until seven tomorrow morning.

Street flushing with fresh water has been stopped

Watering of all non-lawn plants in parks, in town, on roundabouts and in road barriers has been stopped

Watering of lawns in Government parks has also been stopped or switched to an alternative brown water supply

Supply has been stopped to sporting facilities. Construction activity and supply for the production of cement have been stopped.

If there is no damage to pipework or repairs take less than 5 days, these restrictions will be lifted as soon as possible.

WATER SUPPLY ISSUES

Residents of the Upper-Town may already be experiencing significant fresh water supply issues due to the fact that water pressure is produced by gravity.

AquaGib is deploying potable water bowsers to help.

Plans to import water via road and sea are being considered as well as the possibility of deploying portable desalination equipment to produce water.

The AquaGib plant at North Mole is still fully operational and is producing water as normal.

1 Like

Work was underway last night to lay new pipes to allow AquaGib’s reverse osmosis plant on the east side of the Rock to resume production of potable water.

A section of pipe that runs through Power’s Drive Tunnel was damaged by a rockfall caused by a fire that has burned there since Tuesday but is now under control.

Dr Joseph Garcia, the acting Chief Minister, said the hope is the new pipe will be ready within two days, down from an initial five-day estimate on Thursday.

Until then, the plan is to maintain water conservation measures in place including cutting off supply across Gibraltar overnight, he told the Chronicle early Friday morning.

Officials are due to meet at 9.30am on Friday to review the situation and determine any further steps. A statement is expected after that meeting.

Water was cut off across Gibraltar on Thursday night except for key sites such as the hospital.

The supply of water resumed at 7am this morning although supply was patchy at times.

But some areas, including in the south district and the upper town, have been without water since mid-afternoon on Thursday with no change in sight.

Those areas are supplied through water pressure built up via gravity. With no water being pumped into the system from the east side plant, there is not enough in the reservoirs to create the necessary pressure.

AquaGib has placed bowsers in different locations around Gibraltar including Naval Hospital Road, Moorish Castle Estate and Alameda Estate.

Arrangements have also been made to import water from Spain to top up AquaGib’s reservoirs, which may help with water pressure in some areas, and AquaGib’s plant in the North Mole area remains fully operational.

But Dr Garcia said that until the pipe on the east side was repaired, some areas would likely remain without supply due to the problems with gravitational water pressure.

A helpline has been set up for elderly or vulnerable people who need help. The number to call is 200 73659.

1 Like

https://www.gbc.gi/news/water-restricted-overnight-across-gibraltar-following-fire-damage-powers-drive-tunnel-repair-works-c

1 Like

VERY INTERESTING POST BY CIARAN WALSH
Guys did you see the post by CiarĂ n Walsh on Speak Freely?? Regarding the Rock Tunnel Fire.
It was taken down, however I copied it.
Have a read

Have you read this on Speak Freely?
Ciarán Walsh Posted!!!

Hey everyone

So you're probably all aware by now of the fire in the cave near the crematorium. I was trapped inside there.

Whilst I was in ocean views in the past I noted that the electricity lines were being ran from the main grid illegally into the cave; seeming to look like our energy was being stolen.

After seeing it a few times I decided to go in, this is wrong on so many levels, I thought; what are they leaching the power for - we all work very hard and pay a lot of money for our electricity.

The first time I went into the cave was in April time. It was pretty shocking what was in there with broken sheds filled with gnarly equipment, filled with litter, electricity lines running all the way through.

I literally just went to check it out. I explored every inch of the cave and got to a big metal fence. It was rusted and gnarly and people came to block me in so I had to call the police to escape.

Determined to find out what's going on I returned to the cave.

What I saw this time was horrifying.

I saw a plethora of bullets in one of the caverns that wasn't there before. I handed the bullet to a senior police officer who immediately told me these were from recent Royal Marines training missions. I'm not sure I believe this as the bullets were far too small to be the L85 bullets typical of a Royal Marines Infrantyman, and they were too long to be pistol bullets for their standard issue pistols. They were very skinny and old school bullets; like hunting rifle bullets.

The police said that then said to another officer to throw it in the bin. It'll be on their bodycams.

A bunch of new caverns had been built, some widened. Some new holes in the ground that led to further makeshift underground tunnels.

I saw what looks like a makeshift crude oil bomb (photo'd).

I progressed through the cave until I got to the metal fence again.

It's a decent 12 or 14ft, with just a 25cm opening at the top. I climbed it and crawled through in darkness.

What I then saw next was honestly one of the most traumatic moments of my life. There was a load of rubbish and recycling bins. Ok fine.

I progressed through and saw all the energy lines being leached from the road led to a power station marked Gib Laundry next to the reverse osmosis plant. I thought that's strange. These power lines run from the street, through a private side into a government part - the screenshot linked says there's no power source but any police who've been inside will see what I've mentioned on their bodycams.

Interestingly, reverse osmosis makes soft water, which is good for laundry, but bad for humans as it's lacking in calcium and magnesium - this contributes to weaker bones, especially in women making it significantly likelier for women to develop osteoporosis.

Contrary to popular belief hard water is much higher in natural minerals and thus better for humans to drink, however it's more costly to pipe as you need expensive copper piping to maintain this otherwise the minerals will clog the pipes.

Hard water also tastes better; but unfortunately it's usually laced with flouride which calcified the pineal gland.

So I thought this is really weird, this must be government property, but the electricity is being stolen from the street.

Why are we paying taxes if they are just going to steal from us on top of it lol.

I went further into the cave next and what I saw next made my heart sink to my feet. Someone had recently set fire to one of the storage rooms; this room contained a significant amount of plastic panelling similar to the extremely flammable paneling used on Grenfell tower.

If this was used on buildings in Gibraltar it could have killed hundreds of innocent Gibraltarians.

I ran back the way I came in and tried to climb the fence two more times. I couldn

It was significantly harder this side as this time there was no footholds on this side - you can come in, but you can't leave kind of vibe.

It's a big climb you have to climb entirely using your upper body. I could get to the top, but once at the top you need to use your core strength to lift your legs above your head to escape through this 25 cm gap above in pitch black. I tried swinging my legs up like monkey bars but I just couldn't do it and I fell both times and got pretty cut up and my muscles were beat up.

After two attempts I began to panic.

I began running around the cavern to find other exits. The front exit leading to outside was again a big metal gate.

The air flow in this cave is intense pushing air from behind the fire directly towards the main entrance.

The risk of a fireball hitting the electricity leeching station was high.

If that happened, all that would be left of me would be my bones and the risk of an electrical fire with the dampness of the cave, the strong consistent airflow, the intense plastic fire and electricity could have made an explosion that would have been incredibly dangerous.

I changed my priorities and decided the electricity was the biggest priority. I insulated myself with some nearby dry wood pallets and tried to cut off the power to no avail.

I went to check on the fire and it was an inferno.

The whole cavern was lit up in tiger orange and the air was thickening with plastic smoke.

I had no choice, so I ran beyond the fire to the further storage chambers, I saw what looked to be a brand new shed in one with the doors closed shut. I didn't have time to investigate as time was ticking. I guess the firefighters/police will need to inform us what was in there.

There were more storage rooms, the environmental department for Gibraltar section was filled with refuse.

There was no escape this way. I was incredibly tired at this stage and panting hard. I went back towards the reverse osmosis plant and found some plastic cylinders. Panting heavily I dragged them about 25 meters uphill past all the rubbish/recycling bins and brought it to the fence but it's on a slope so they didn't even stand up.

I ran back to check on the fire.

It was seriously burning now; the fire was huge.

I ran back to the fence. Took some deep breaths and squatted for a second to rest.

I thought, fuck i'm about to be burned to death a fireball is coming any second now.

I tried with all my might to get into the gap, I got to the top again using my upper body and kept swinging my legs desperately to get up and fell down really hard.

I was cut up and grazed but it was my muscles and my lungs that were really suffering now.

I called someone I know in the police who called the fire service as it was the quickest method of communication to save me googling the number etc.

I had no choice, so I went to the front entrance and shouted for help.

A guardian angel appeared, I shouted some words in Spanish along the lines of 'danger' 'help' 'fire' and did some charades whilst shouting fireball in Spanish.

A few minutes later, I was desperate and nearly in tears but couldn't cry because of the adrenaline; but the guardians angels colleague, another guardian angel (bless you both, thank you so much :pray:) found a metal saw and cut the padlock out freeing me from a fiery end.

I thanked the men over and over and collapsed on the floor exhausted, finally breathing fresh air. The man who cut the padlock kindly gave me some water and I just sat there exhausted until the emergency services arrived.

I would just like to say, from the bottom of my heart, thank you so much to everyone who helped me that day. You truly saved my life. From the guardian angels, to the brave emergency services personnel for putting out the fire, helping me with my wounds and supporting me afterwards.

You are all absolute heroes and heroines and I owe you my life.

I hope you're all doing ok and thank you so much. I love you all.

3 Likes

*Fresh water bowsers from Spain
*Pipe to Spain will be next
*Essential services need to be secured to avoid that
*A failure has led to current interruption to water supply
*Good government and administration will be put to the test now
*Investigation into political and administrative responsibility needed
*Lessons must be learnt

SPAIN – HELP! HELP!

There we have it from the horse’s mouth bowsers will be bringing in fresh water from Spain to help with the shortages caused by the impact on supplies from AquaGib resulting from the recent fire in tunnels. What more evidence of reliance on a frontier is needed, not that bowsers will likely do much to improve the situation?

It may be extreme circumstances that have affected our water supply from desalination plants, but the situation does bring into sight the reliance that Gibraltar has for essential services on our infrastructure working well and efficiently, or else it is Spain to the rescue.

Sufficient back-up is possibly too expensive to instal and even more expensive to operate, so a pipe connecting to Spanish supplies is next in line? If that is to be avoided our own facilities must be made more resilient.

SECURE ESSENTIAL INFRASTRUCTURE NEEDED

The preferred alternative must be to secure essential infrastructure facilities to ensure that there is sufficient capacity to provide even if part of the infrastructure is affected and down temporarily.

It is too early to say but somewhere along the line it would seem there has been a failure either of back-up, security, or facilities to ensure continuous supply despite part of the infrastructure being damaged or non-operational.

GOOD GOVERNMENT WILL BE TESTED

The cause of the hugely reduced water supply is not fully known yet, but it is a matter of good government that there should be a full and independent inquiry into all issues arising.

Any investigation should include whether the interruption to supply could have been avoided, how it could have been avoided, and the reasons why those measures may not have been in place.

If any individuals or companies were at fault sanctions should flow. We are not dealing with an unimportant issue. We are dealing with the supply of a basic and essential commodity. A basic need that all have become accustomed to having at the turn of a tap. Good government requires accountability.

WHO IS IN THE FIRING LINE?

It is not just the political government that will be tested by its handling of the emergency. It is the political government that should be put under a microscope for the historical handling of infrastructure attached to essential service. Any deficiencies that may be identified should be dealt with.

Additionally, those public servants and entities and their employees who have been tasked with essential services should come under scrutiny also. Have they advised governments properly? Have contingencies been identified? Have those contingencies been dealt with? The questions are endless.

LESSONS TO BE LEARNT

Lessons will be there to be learnt, and improvements should follow. What cannot and should not be is that things should be ignored on the basis that it has happened once so it will not happen again. Any improvements that are identified to avoid a recurrence should be made.

It would be wrong to just carry on as usual based on the complacency that can set in.

For now, let us hope and trust that normal services will be restored soon. Those have been promised in two days.

Works to replace the water pipe damaged by the Power's Drive Tunnel fire are progressing well, with Aquagib laying some 600 metres of pipework circumventing the affected area.

Our reporter Jonathan Sacramento was at the site on Friday morning.

White Water ? Air bubbles give a “milky” appearance which clears once settled. This is normal and is SAFE to drink.

The Gibraltar Government has imported 200,000 litres of non-potable water by sea to be used for street flushing, green areas as well as for the wildlife in Alameda Park.

Non-potable water is not treated to drinking water standards and is not meant for human consumption.

The Government stressed this measure does not hamper any efforts, or delay the importation of the water being brought in by land for human consumption.

The Ministry of Environment has imported the non-potable water overnight as a contingency measure following restrictions to non-essential use of water.

“I would like to thank all those who have made this possible, as well as those working around the clock to ensure that street flushing, our wildlife and green areas can be maintained as well as possible under these circumstances and during the hottest time of the year," Minister for Environment, Dr John Cortes, said.

"Green areas like Commonwealth Park are enjoyed by many in the community, and if not watered for 3 days would have to be completely replaced at huge cost."

"By safeguarding the grass, we will not have to cause further disruption to the public later in the year. We will continue to import non-potable water by sea until the water supply issues are resolved."

By importing non-potable water, the Ministry of Environment aims to relieve the pressure off AquaGib’s supply whilst their stock levels are replenished.

The importation of non- potable water by sea is expected to continue for some days to minimise the impact to wildlife and green areas across Gibraltar.

“This contingency measure is vital for ensuring that we can keep wildlife and green areas alive despite the water restrictions that have been in place for some days," Chief Scientist, Dr Liesl Mesilio, said.

"We hope that this non-potable supply will continue over the following days, which will allow AquaGib to replenish their stocks sufficiently before we return to normal water distribution."

I smell corruption in Gibraltar. And lots of it.

The Government says the priority right now is to restore water to Gibraltar, but that after that, it will carry out a "thorough investigation" into what happened and why, and how other contingency measures can be put in place to stop this happening again. That is according to the Minister for Civil Contingencies, who told GBC there is no time right now to look at what's gone wrong and how to improve it, but that this will be done in future.

Asked who will be footing the bill for the response to the crisis, Samantha Sacramento said the Government would be looking at AquaGib, as this is an issue of continuity of supply with a contractor of theirs - although she added the Government has not looked at this in detail yet. In terms of security, Ms Sacramento said the scene is the subject of a criminal investigation by the Royal Gibraltar Police.

Four out of five of AquaGib's reverse osmosis plants are situated at Governors Cottage. Our reporter, Christina Cortes, asked the Minister whether this has exposed the danger of putting too many eggs in one basket, as well as what contingency plans were in place to prevent the interruption of water supply Gibraltar has experienced.

The author makes a good point about RO water. With all the abundant rocks and minerals naturally occurring in Gib, one would not need to go to the Himalayans to obtain minerals.

Gov't makes things so complicated and convoluted. I believe they do so to create their version of solutions that help them siphon money (money laundering) from the people.

Because water and electricity are both utilities and are immorally controlled by corrupt governance, I was reminded of the board game Monopoly. The board game was originally created by a lady who was an anti-monopolist. It was a game that aimed to do good. "Her hope was that the game would show that land grabbing and expansion would only ever benefit a few landowners whilst the rent-paying tenants were left to live in poverty." She did not receive the recognition she deserved and it was later changed into something else by a man who received the rewards in creating a dog-eat-dog type of game. You can read more about it at the link below if you wish:

Fabian Picardo deserves the "Go to Jail" card.

1 Like