Running on empty
Hackleton’s Cliff residents thirst for water relief
It has been a long running heartbreak for the residents of Hackleton’s Cliff, St Joseph. The seemingly endless wait for running water has left them frustrated, annoyed, and in some cases, distressed.
It has been almost three months since they were last able to turn on their pipes and enjoy the privilege of free-flowing water. And to amplify their woes, some residents have complained that the community tank installed by the Barbados Water Authority (BWA) appeared to be forever empty, while the district’s standpipe was out of order.
When Barbados TODAY visited the community yesterday in scorching sunshine, a visibly upset Roger Moore talked about the perils they were forced to go through daily and the lengths to which his family must go to collect water.
Before him stood a quantity of receptacles – everything from wash pans to pet bottles and plastic buckets– used to store the precious liquid.
“I got to get water when that tank full up to make my mother happy. My mother spend she time in National Assistance Board and when she turn on the tap she should be getting water, getting the service that she paid for. I know it ain’t my one, I feel the pain of other people,” Moore said.
He stated that while the water problem affected residents, visitors were not spared either. He spoke of the trouble those who stopped by to enjoy the view of the east coast sometimes had getting water to wash their hands after using the bathroom.
Yet through it all, Moore complained, the residents were being made to pay for a service they did not receive.
“The thing is, you getting a bill that is an excessive amount, more than when you were getting running water and nobody ain’t addressing the issue. People going via the media, making broken promises and sound like a stick record saying the same thing,” Moore said.
The Hackleton’s Cliff resident said he had difficulty grasping the logic behind the BWA’s decision to place a community tank in the area, yet leaving it standing there empty for days on end.
“They will tell you invest in a tank, but how can you invest in a tank when you ain’t got nothing to put in the tank? Really and truly, I believe that this two-month thing is ridiculous. No water comes through the pipe at all, but the bills coming,” he said.
Fellow resident Shirley Waldron has also had her share of frustrations. She said the neighbourhood has been experiencing water problems for several decades.
But the outages appear to be happening more frequently and going on for much longer and Waldron suggested that she had a good idea what was the cause of the problem.
“The main from Malvern to Hackleton’s Cliff want digging up and putting down fresh main for us to get water. We would get back a proper service,” Waldron advised.
Meanwhile, the people of nearby Edge Cliff also complained of major inconveniences as a result of water outages. They said a tank which was recently placed in the area had been empty for several days.
“But we get accustomed now. The bathing is out of a small bucket,” Sonja Brathwaite told Barbados TODAY.
The BWA reported on Tuesday that it was forced to turn off the water supply to communities in St John, St Thomas, St Philip and St George for 14 hours due to dangerously low water levels at the Golden Ridge pumping station.
And Acting Chief Engineer Charles Marville warned at the time that additional restrictions were likely if the drought persisted and water levels did not improve soon.
“It depends on what happens. It is difficult to predict what will actually happen to our pumping stations. We are monitoring them very closely; we hope that we would not have to, but if necessary, we would have to take the necessary action to ensure everybody get some water,” Marville said then.