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Water or move

Peter McCollin has lived without running water for almost two decades.

by Emmanuel Joseph

Householders living in at least two communities of St. George have been barred from a piped supply of potable water from the Barbados Water Authority.

When a team from Barbados TODAY visited Bayley Alley/Redland and Ashbury, we discovered that a substantial number of the estimated 60 homes were not connected to the island’s water network.

The reason given by families in the affected districts was the same.

“We applied for water, but can’t get it, because they [BWA] told us we were on a water zone,” explained body workman Peter McCollin, who had been living in Bayley Alley for 20 years.

McCollin pointed out that some residents were connected to the system, but they would have been on the land for more than 30 years, before there was any talk of restricting building in the Zone One areas.

“When I first came here, I didn’t hear anything about Zone One. But in recent years I have heard it said that we are between the Golden Ridge pumping station along with two others nearby,” noted the self-employed autobody repairman who admitted to “running a hose” from one of the neighbour’s home who was connected to the authority’s system when he wanted water.

He told this paper he was frustrated that nothing was being done to rescue them.

He said when Opposition MP for the constituency, Gline Clarke “was in power”, he had made plans to relocate the residents who could not get connected, but since he was no longer in Government, nothing was happening.

McCollin also explained that people who did not have water had to go to the public standpipe about a quarter-mile away on the main road.

Members of the nearby Watts family had a similar story to tell.

“The BLP started to move people to Groves. Some people got land, but those proposals like they at a standstill now. We were supposed to get land too, but we don’t know what is going on now,” said Jeffrey Watts, who has been living at Bayley Alley with his family for 16 years.

He said the lack of having access to a dependable and constant supply of water was frustrating.

His female partner, who did not want her name mentioned, claimed that those who were living on the land before a 1976 law restricted construction on a zone one area, would have been connected to the BWA network.

“I does got to hooked up a trailer to the back of my car and drive about quarter-mile away to the standpipe for water,” declared Jeffrey Watts.

Our Barbados TODAY team then journeyed over a hill to the adjoining community of Ashbury, where a mother of six informed us that about nine of the 15 homes in that district, could not be connected to the national water supply system.

Marcell Jordan lamented that she either had to trek about 100 yards away to a standpipe for water or catch it when the rain fell.

“I would be willing to relocate if I could. Gline Clarke said he would move those who didn’t have water to Groves, but I don’t know what is going on now. If they can’t move us, they should give us water,” Jordan insisted.

The single mother, who had been living in the Zone One area since 1981, said she was desperate for action to be taken to bring relief for her family.

Ironically, though, her mother, who lived “a shout” away, is connected to the BWA network.

Jordan also complained that the road leading to some of the homes in Ashbury could not accommodate emergency vehicles “because they would stick up”.

“We need help badly. We need water; we need a proper road,” was her cry.

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