Thousands of cruisers visiting St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands are being told by their cruise operators to stay clear of the downtown area due to a water shortage that's been going on for more than six weeks.
A countless number of area businesses have been impacted, and are losing revenue during their busiest season of the year. Restaurants have been especially hard-hit, and have begun shutting bathrooms and serving food on paper plates because they can't use dishwashers.
There's been no word from area officials as to when the shortage will end and full water service will be restored.
The island has been rationing water since November 15, when a steam-generating boiler used for water production began leaking. For more information, travelers can check the Virgin Islands Water and Power Authority web site, or call 340/774-3552 [USA Today].
UPDATE: January 13, 2012
The St. Thomas Tourism Board has reported that the water shortage is over, and that normal service has been restored to the island. [USA Today].