With the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management’s (ODPEM) forecast of drought to grip the island over the next three months, Director Ronald Jackson has urged Jamaicans to start conserving water.
“Typically, every January we are faced with the beginning of a dry spell in our country, which is usually what we call the primary dry period. We are asking the public that even before the Met Office (Meteorological Service) declares a drought that they begin to practise certain mitigation measures and also preparedness measures, well in advance of such a declaration, because we are trying to promote a culture of prevention and readiness,” said Jackson.
Increased incidence of drought and lengthy seasons of water scarcity have seen Jamaicans investing in more permanent water storage systems for their homes and businesses. Water systems, from tanks to pumps have gained popularity because of their convenience, affordability as well as capacity range. However, how can consumers determine the best water system to purchase for their homes or businesses?
What is included in a water system?
Typically a complete water system will include a water storage tank; a pump to transfer the water from the storage unit to the tap and a pressure tank to maintain a consistent flow of water to the tap.
How much water do you need to store?
When buying a tank, the first things you should determine are how much water you need and your intended use for the stored water i.e. domestic, agricultural. “When purchasing tanks, you must first assess how much water you need to store to cover your needs” said Locksley Waller, Technical Operations Manager at Appliance Traders Limited, Jamaica’s chief retailer of domestic and special order tanks. “The average person uses up to 80-100 gallons of water per day including flushing the toilet, showering, hand-washing and cooking so you have to calculate tank capacity on a per person basis. If for instance there are four people in your household, you would need to store 400 gallons of water per day. If the tank is to be used for agricultural purposes, the same rule applies whereas you would have to determine the volume of water needed for crops, livestock and store accordingly,” he said.
What are the different kinds of tanks and where will you store it?
“Tanks come in a variety of sizes and materials including plastic (polyethylene, polypropylene), fiberglass, concrete, stone and steel, with the most common domestic option being plastic ” explains Waller. The intended location of the tank (indoors, outdoors, above ground or underground) also play a big part in its colour and construction characteristics.
Will I need any additional equipment to get my system going?
In addition to the tank, ATL’s Waller also recommends completing your system with a pressure tank and electrical pump to ensure consistent flow. “Pumps such as DAB will help to transfer the water from the tank towards the taps whereas pressure tanks will help to maintain a steady ‘pressurized’ flow while reducing the number of starts the pump makes, conserving energy in the process. The size of the pump and pressure tank that will be required is dependent on the number of persons in the household and also the height to which the water has to be pumped
Will the pump affect my electricity bill?
The more frequently your pump starts is the more power it will consume. A larger pump will also generally consume more electricity, “ATL carries the ‘Active Driver’ – an inverter energy saving controller that will allow your pump to run only at the speed necessary to satisfy your flow requirement. This device allows your system to operate at a constant pressure regardless of the flow demand by varying the speed of the pump motor to match the demand. This user friendly interface enhances comfort, runs silently, eliminates over pressurization, extends pump life, allows trouble free installations and is compatible with a large range of pump types” said Waller.
How long can water be stored?
If stored properly, water can be saved for approximately 24 months providing the tank remains airtight. By design a water tank/container should do no harm to the water said Waller. Water is susceptible to a number of ambient negative influences, including bacteria, viruses, algae, changes in pH, and accumulation of minerals, accumulated gas. A correctly designed water tank works to address and mitigate these negative effects.
Drought is one of the most costly natural disasters and accounted for over 30 per cent crop loss in Trelawny last April and so in addition to storing water in tanks, Waller also recommends having gallon bottles stored. “There is no such thing as saving too much water in preparation for a steely drought season so persons should also ensure they have gallon bottles on hand. Allocate one gallon of water per person per day. That means if you have three people in your family, you should allocate three gallons per day.”
Basic Pump (DAB 0 .6 HP) and Tank (400 gallon) are available at ATL starting at $39,000. www.atljamaica.com.
With calls from the Opposition Jamaica Labour Party to set a definite timeline for the Digital Switchover (DSO), talks have resumed whether or not Jamaica will be ready for the Government’s proposed 2015 deadline.
The DSO, also called the digital television transition or analogue switch-off,refers to the process by which nations will stop delivering broadcast, cable and satellite content using analogue technology. Instead content will be delivered via digital signal delivering improved images and sound. To date, the digital TV transition has already commenced in over 50 countries including Japan, Italy, France and the United Kingdom.
So what does the analogue to digital switch mean for consumers? Analogue signals require antennae unlike digital TVs which have integrated digital tuners and monitors to display the programming. Televisions that are not equipped with digital tuners will be rendered useless after the switch.
“With the throes of the holiday season in full swing, electronics, particularly TV’s are hot ticket items. If getting a new television is on your wish list and with a switchover likely in the next few years, consumers must be wary not to expend funds on sets that are not compatible with digital signals” said Home Product Manager at Appliance Traders Limited (ATL) Stacey Campbell.
In April this year, Minister with responsibility for information Sandra Falconer said that Jamaica has begun to make sure footed strides and would be moving towards the digital switchover in 2015, completing a process that has been in train since 2003.
The 44 year retailer which carries Panasonic Viera models as well the new Samsung Smart series televisions says they are well prepared for the transition. “Our customers can be assured that current stock is completely digital. When you buy a unit from ATL, you don’t have to worry that in 3 years you will need a new TV. We monitor activities in the international markets to make sure our customers are getting the latest and the best,” said Campbell.
Campbell’s mentioned that consumers shopping for digitally compatible televisions this holiday should note that TV’s should be marked or labelled to indicate if they have a built-in digital tuner, “It may say something like DTV, HDTV, ATSC, Digital Tuner, Digital Receiver, Integrated Digital Tuner or Digital Tuner Built In. Without a digital tuner, those TVs will need a set-top converter box to get a digital picture. If there is no indication of a digital tuner on the TV set itself, check the owner’s manual” she said, “Shop carefully. Speak with a well-informed sales person and always research the unit before you purchase.”
“The thought crossed my mind several times if we would ever see shore again,” recounted Jeffery Mumby, Senior Electrician at Appliance Traders Limited (ATL).
Called out to sea, Mumby and fellow technician Fabian Powell responded to an unusual service request for a customer some one hundred and fifty miles offshore at Pedro Cay. “A client had reported some difficulties with a diesel generator so we were dispatched to go and fix it. Our team boasts island-wide service but seeing that this was an offshore job, it was outside our usual parameters. Nevertheless, we were on-board and willing to render assistance. Neither of us had ever been to Pedro Cay before so we were excited to go,” said Jeffery.
After boarding a fishing boat at Rocky Point, Clarendon early Saturday morning, the duo made port five hours later at Middle Cay, an area largely inhabited by fisher folk. “We located the client soon after docking and immediately proceeded to repair the unit. There is no wired electricity on Cay and the customer used the generator to power cold storage units so we had to work quickly; finishing the job in just under two hours,” explained Fabian.
At four pm the men gathered their things in preparation to return to shore but were told that no boats are available for at least not for another day or two. Stranded without provisions or means to communicate with anyone, their thoughts turn quickly to fear and anxiety. “We were marooned on the Cay without much of anything, just our toolboxes,” said Fabian. “We were only scheduled to be there a few hours so when we heard that it would be for a few days – we simply were not prepared.”
Upon hearing the plight of the men, a Pedro Cay resident identified as Miss Sandra offered them food and lodging till daylight. But the morning bore no resolve. Time drudged on wearily and on Sunday 5pm, the peak of their 30th hour as ‘castaways’, the men got news that a boat was destined for shore. Rearing to go home, the men accepted the offer to head inland.
Fate however, would not make the return trip an easy one for the men as they spent an arduous 14 hours afloat on the high seas in a small dinghy. “Just when we thought things were looking up, we were in for a terrible awakening. What should have been a 5-hour trip was almost tripled because of turbulent sea conditions,” said Jeffery. “It was terrifying – spending the entire night out in the pitch black unknown and constantly worrying if we’d make it home in one piece,” Drenched and ravaged from sea sickness, daylight finally broke and at 7:30am on Monday, their third day offshore, the men finally made it back to mainland shore.
An unscripted and almost unbelievable tale, the men recounted it with mixed reactions citing both trials and triumphs. “I’ve worked with ATL for almost 13 years and this by far has been my most memorable site visit to date” said Jeffery with a chuckle. “How many technicians or companies you know would travel that distance by boat and end up in a situation like ours to make a customer happy? That’s taking things to a whole new level of service?”
And indeed the men have set a new benchmark of customer service at the company quipped Assistant Deputy Chairman of the ATL Group Ian Neita, “Our Chairman always says we should give the client more than he or she expects but this was a task bigger than all could have anticipated. It’s important that we not only say we’re unbeatable but demonstrate it at every opportunity. Jeffery and Fabian embody the ATL unbeatable spirit and we’re very proud of them for going above and beyond the extra mile. They earned not only the praise of a happy customer all the way in Pedro Cay but also the praise of all us in the ATL Group. They proved that there are no limitations to quality service.”
Definitely one for the history books, Fabian also agreed that that the trip though eventful was definitely worth it. “In the end, what mattered most of all is that we were safe and that we were able to help a customer. But I can’t say I would be up for a boat travel any time soon.” he chuckled.
Appliance Traders Limited (ATL) announced Thursday that it will exclusively distribute solar water heaters from Israeli supplier, Nimrod Industries Limited.
It forms part of ATL’s new thrust to offer energy-efficient solutions to Jamaican homes and businesses.
“There has been a prominent call for homes and businesses to ‘go green’ with several local government agencies and financial institutions supporting ventures in alternative energy. With the Nimrod distribution, ATL is bringing the best of Israel’s solar technology to Jamaican shores,” said ATL’s Energy and Engineering Manager Paul Grey in the release.
ATL said that the Nimrod product ideally captures natural light whilst protecting against rust which develops after exposure to ‘hard water’.
“In the Caribbean, we are prone to ‘hard water’ – that is water with mineral elements. Nimrod coats their piping with enamel which prevents mineral deposit build-up and ultimately extends the life of the heater, ensuring savings for customers,” said Grey. “We are pleased that Nimrod has chosen to permeate the Jamaican market. We think the time is right and that Jamaicans are ready to invest,” Grey stated.
ATL is owned by Gordon ‘Butch’ Stewart.
Solar water heaters have grown in popularity since the 1990s, especially within resorts as a means of reducing electricity costs.
ATL will be going up against companies such as longstanding player Isratech Jamaica, which also distributes solar heaters in partnership with an Israeli company, Chromagen.
Isratech Jamaica has, since the 1990s, imported the finished water heaters for local sale but this month announced plans to start local production of heaters. It will import the components from Chromagen and assemble the heaters at its plant at Kendal in Mandeville once it finalises a J$15-million plant expansion.
The terms of ATL’s deal with Nimrod were not disclosed, neither did ATL respond to requests for comment up to press time on the type of investment and infrastructure that will surround its new product line.
Music power couple Wayne Marshall and Tami Chynn have signed on as brand ambassadors for the ATL Group. The duo will be the marketing faces of the 44 year old company across its range of services from electronics to automobiles throughout the upcoming year.
The appliance and auto company selected the couple because of their talent and diverse appeal. “In looking for brand ambassadors, we believe that Wayne and Tami represent the similar values of the ATL Group and our customers: vibrant, progressive and wholesome” said Ian Neita, Assistant Deputy Chairman of the ATL Group.
As brand ambassadors, Wayne and Tami will represent Appliance Traders Limited – the group’s flagship company specializing in electronics and industrial solutions as well as ATL Automotive – its premium car dealership specializing in Honda, Audi, Land Rover, VW and Jaguar brands in ad campaigns , events and other promotional initiatives.
“ATL is such a well-respected family brand that we readily agreed to partner with them,” said Marshall. “There are definitely big plans in the works and we can’t wait to share with ATL customers and our fans” said Tami. And ‘share’ they will. As part of the campaign, the couple will also utilize their social media channels including Twitter and Instagram to galvanize fan support for their new partnership.
One of Jamaica’s leading musical couples, Wayne and Tami have enjoyed illustrious careers both on the local and international scene with recent projects seeing both artistes recording and releasing new material as well as videos.