Large numbers of uprooted and unstable trees will keep Jersey Water’s public reservoirs closed until further notice while clear-up operations can begin in the wake of Storm Ciarán.
Both Queen’s Valley and Val de la Mare reservoirs will remain closed to the public over the weekend and likely into next week so that Jersey Water can assess the full extent of the damage and start the necessary works to make footpaths safe again.
Since the storm, the utility has been prioritising its water supply operations and supporting a small number of households who experienced issues with their water supply. Despite logistical challenges with power outages and site access, the utility has managed to continue to supply its services as normal.
In the interests of public safety, the two reservoirs have been closed since Wednesday. Jersey Water is working with its maintenance partner, charity Jersey Trees for Life, and volunteer resources from local ecology company Nurture Ecology to tackle the task of clearing trees and pathways at Val de La Mare.
Helier Smith, Chief Executive of Jersey Water, commented:
“Initial inspections of the reservoirs indicate that we have very sadly lost a number of trees across both sites. Footpaths are impassable and very hazardous so we cannot stress enough how important it is for members of the public to respect the closures we have in place. We face a significant clear-up operation before we can consider re-opening the reservoirs.
Very sadly the arboretum at Val de la Mare has been hit hard and there have been significant losses across the botanical collections, which is particularly upsetting given the important work Jersey Trees for Life has been undertaking since we committed to funding their maintenance programme earlier this year.”
Alex Morel from Jersey Trees for Life added:
“The scale of devastation is far beyond what we expected. We have lost some rare and threatened species of trees which will be hard to replace. Our priority at this point in time is to make the paths safe again for people who want to walk around the arboretum and the reservoir.”
Jersey Water will review the status of its sites on Monday and make a further announcement on the expected re-opening of the reservoirs to the public. The utility thanks Islanders for their patience.