Government House Briefing Features Hurricane Update, WAPA CEO Unpacks St. Croix Water Woes

U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS – Government House Communications Director Richard Motta on Monday said Governor Bryan remembered 9/11 as “a day that forever changed our nation and the world and encouraged Virgin Islanders to pause to honor the lives lost, the heroes who emerged from the chaos, and the enduring spirit of unity that emerged from the ashes.

“The memories of September 11th, 2001, remain etched in our hearts, serving as a constant reminder of the importance of vigilance, compassion, and unity” Gov. Bryan said. “We pay tribute to the first responders who rushed into danger, the brave men and women of our armed forces who have sacrificed so much in the years that followed, and the countless individuals who have dedicated their lives to keeping us safe.”

Motta introduced Virgin Islands Territorial Emergency Management Agency (VITEMA) Director Daryl Jaschen, who provided a hurricane update and V.I. Water and Power Authority Executive Director Andrew Smith, who provided an update on the status of water quality challenges on St. Croix.

Jaschen said that although Hurricane Lee, a dangerous Category 5 hurricane, turned north and presented no imminent threat to the U.S. Virgin Islands, strong rip currents and swells are expected to impact the Territory. A surf advisory and a rip current statement have been issued.

Jaschen and Motta thanked the NOAA Hurricane Hunters for allowing them to ride along on Friday for an eight-hour data collecting mission into Hurricane Lee.

While systems are being monitored, there is low probability that any hurricanes will form to threaten the Territory within the next week, Jaschen said.

WAPA Executive Director Andrew Smith provided an overview of discolored water on St. Croix where the aging water infrastructure is more than 60 years old. Low water pressure and drought are factors that contribute to discolored water, Smith said. When leaks occur and portions of the water system are shut down to repair them, the result can be stirred up sediment and minerals when water pressure returns.
“WAPA typically undertakes an aggressive flushing program to help reduce the amount of brown water and maintain water quality,” Smith said. “More aggressive flushing would only currently make the situation worse as it would further lower water pressure for our customers.”

Smith said water sampling is done in conjunction with the Environmental Protection Agency.
WAPA is working with the Office of the Governor and the Department of Planning and Natural Resources to potentially develop a residential filtration program for the customers most affected by brown water. WAPA has identified those areas most in need of water system rehabilitation, beginning with Frederiksted, Christiansted, Clifton Hill and Campo Rico. A rehabilitation project is slated to begin in Hannah’s Rest in March 2024.

Next week, WAPA will begin setting up customer information stations in Frederiksted where customers can obtain information about water discoloration. Customers are urged to reach out at or call 340-773-2250 for specific concerns.

In other news, Director Motta announced that the Elaine Ione Sprauve Library on St. John will open on Wednesday, Sept. 13 and the Florence Williams Library in Christiansted will open in late October.
The Bryan-Roach Administration is investing in the Territory’s people, infrastructure and future through transparency, stabilizing the economy, restoring trust in the government and ensuring that recovery projects are completed as quickly as possible. Visit