Heaven help us!
Homeowners in St Joseph are beginning to lose hope of ever having a reliable water supply running through their taps.
However the state-owned water company is calling on them to be patient.
Having lodged an endless flow of complaints to the Barbados Water Authority (BWA) and in the media, and even after venting their frustrations at town hall meetings organized by the Opposition Barbados Labour Party (BLP), the people of Lammings, Chimborazo and Braggs Hill said they simply did not know what else must be done to resolve the water problems, nor did they have the energy to protest anymore.
In Braggs Hill, Ingrid Hope said she was tired of going to the media to state her case for a consistent water service. Hope explained that she has had to travel to other districts to get water for everyday uses such as taking a bath and cooking.
And a resident of Lammings – which hosted one of the BLP town hall meetings – complained that she and her neighbours saw little benefit in complaining anymore about the poor water service.
Several residents told Barbados TODAY this morning that the latest episode of dry taps had been on for five days with no end in sight.
The BWA has been filling the community tanks, but it has not been enough to satisfy the heavy demands, the residents said.
“I real p****d off right now. This is five days we haven’t been getting water. I am not well and not supposed to be lifting weight so I have to ask my son to get up early every morning to go and get water,” said a mother of three in Chimborazo who gave her name as Harriett.
She painted a picture of people rushing to the tank in the early morning hours with buckets and bottles in hand, only to stand in queues hoping to get what little was left.
“Sometimes you get there and most of the water gone already. I can’t cook properly in here because I can’t get water. We can’t flush the toilets properly,” Harriett complained.
Not far away stood Ilene Marshall who repeated the unpleasant story shared by so many over the past several months of being unable to take a proper bath or do the laundry.
“This going on for too long now. You can’t even get water to wash your clothes properly, but dem still sending a bill. What we really paying for? We paying for air,” Marshall vented.
Eighty-three year old Garnett Husbands has not been spared the discomfort of making the trek to the water tank to fill up.
He told Barbados TODAY it was a chore he would rather not do at his age.
“This ain’t easy. Look, a big old man like me and I got to bring water. But I need the water,” he said, a bucket filled with water in each hand.
One mother who requested anonymity said the experience had been painful and numbing. And, like so many have done before, she complained about receiving bills from the BWA for a service she seldom had.
“Bringing all this water got my back hurting and my fingers and feet numb. Yet we still got to pay bills. It is hard on the old people that ain’t got nobody living with them,” she said.
When contacted, BWA Public Relations Officer Joy-Ann Haigh told Barbados TODAY that due to the drought that the island was experiencing, the water levels in the well at Bowmanston, St John had been falling, resulting in outages in several districts.
“We are working around the clock to fill the community tanks and tankers. The authority is in the process of working on augmenting the Castle Grant supply via the Sweet Vale well in St George. We hope to complete the project soon. We are asking the residents to continue to be patient,” Haigh said.
Just last week, BWA Acting General Manager Dr John Mwansa indicated that it could be quite sometime before residents in the north have access to a steady supply of potable water.
Mwansa told a town hall meeting at the Edna Nicholls Centre in Boscobel, St Peter that the water company had been forced to shut down the well at St Joseph Hospital – one of two servicing the north – because of rising salinity brought on by the drought.
And he suggested that the situation was likely to get worse if the predicted rains did not come quickly, as wells at Carlton, St James; the Whim and Ashton Hall, St Peter and Trents, St James had all shown rising levels of salinity as a result of the drought.