Rationing of hot water could become necessary in municipalities neighbouring Grindavík due to infrastructure damage, the Department of Civil Protection and Emergency Management announced yesterday. Infrastructure repair will be time consuming and costly, RÚV reports.
The January 14 volcanic eruption near Grindavík destroyed three houses, caused crevasses to form across town, and displaced the 3,800 inhabitants for the foreseeable future. The town had already been evacuated once before, on November 10 last year, due to seismic activity. Grindavík residents await a government decision on how they can be helped while displaced.
Half of the hot water wasted
“This is a tricky situation,” Chief Superintendent Víðir Reynisson said. “The hot water runs through piping under the lava and the main pipe was destroyed. Fortunately a new one was being constructed and has been connected so that part of the town has hot water, but not all of it. Around half the water transported to Grindavík leaks out of the system.”
The nearby Svartsengi geothermal plant is operating at capacity, but due to leakage of 40 to 40 litres per second, other nearby municipalities may have to resort to rationing their hot water. In addition, no cold water is available in town, as the pipes have not been repaired. Therefore, fire hydrants in the area are out of commission.
Crevasse risks remain
Temporary wiring is being used for electricity, but it was disconnected yesterday due to a possible lightning storm. Most roads have been temporarily repaired, but many streets remain closed due to crevasse risks. Due to bad weather and other conditions on site, it has not been determined whether the temporary repairs are robust enough to hold. The situation in Grindavík is not good, according to the department, but the goal is to increase safety to the point where living and working in town becomes possible again.
The Icelandic Red Cross has set up a page with donation options for those wishing to lend support. This includes both one-time donations and repeat subscriptions.