‘Filthy water’

St Joseph residents say water in community tanks unclean

As if the prolonged water crisis in St Joseph has not created enough anxiety, residents are now questioning the sanitation of the community tanks placed in the parish by the Barbados Water Authority (BWA).

Some residents have reported feeling ill after consuming water from the tanks, while others stated that they had limited the use of water collected from the tanks to washing and cleaning.

Persons bitterly complained that BWA workers would refill tanks that had been empty for several days without any form of sterilization. In addition, some residents have noticed a rank smell emanating from the stagnant water.

“I don’t drink the water, nor my family don’t drink the water. I never see them clean these tanks. They [BWA] just put the hose in after the tank empty for three days, then some of the stagnant water left back in the tank and start to have a smell and the trucks come and put fresh water on top of that. So I only use the water for washing, bathing and flushing the toilet. I don’t cook with it neither,” Tina Drake said, while filling buckets at the one such tank in Chimborazo, St Joseph.

Chimbarazo resident Tina Drake says she can only use the water from the community tanks for household chores.
Chimbarazo resident Tina Drake says she can only use the water from the community tanks for household chores.

She was backed by 77-year-old Winston Gamble, who complained of intestinal issues after drinking the water.

“At 77 years old I have to walk a long distance to get pipe water because I can’t drink that [water from the community tank]. If I only drink that it is serious blockage issues . . . We talking about 50 years [Independence] but instead we gone back 70 years when I had to carry water as a little boy,” Gamble said.

Another resident, who requested anonymity, was even more direct, complaining of suffering from diarrhoea after drinking the water. The same was true for several neighbours and other members of his family, he contended.

Meanwhile, residents of Mellows Hill, St Joseph were pleased with the regular supply of water. However, they too said they were concerned about the cleanliness of these tanks.

“I only use the water from the tanks for washing and flushing toilets. I have never seen those tanks treated and they should be treated because it has a rank smell and I can’t deal with it,” Ernita Kellman told Barbados TODAY.

Ernita Kellman could see the lighter side of receiving a waterbill despite having no running water for months.
Ernita Kellman could see the lighter side of receiving a waterbill despite having no running water for months.

Minister of Water Resource Management Dr David Estwick recently unveiled an emergency short-term strategy to ease the water crisis facing the country, which included the provision of water storage tanks at affordable costs to residents in the worst affected communities.

The residents today likened this to putting the cart before the horse, as they remained unclear about how the tanks would be filled. Some who had taken up the offer divulged that after placing the tanks in elevated position, the BWA trucks were unable to fill them. Others told Barbados TODAY that BWA drivers had bluntly told them that their priority was the community tanks.

“I wonder what is the point of tanks if I can’t get water to put in them. What ah must do? Bring in some girls from Jamaica to dance in them? It does not make sense,” one person who did not give his name said.

“I got my tank filled once and I had to beg to get it that one time. People would buy the tanks but they must know that they would get water to put in it,” he stressed.


2 Responses to ‘Filthy water’

  1. BoboTheClown October 19, 2016 at 5:21 pm

    They might not be a whole lot of People celebrating running water ,but instead find themselves with the runnings. I guess Water Authority doesn’t care about cleanliness or pure water .Those folk in St Joseph might as well be living in Haiti or some remote village in Africa. Who would have ever thought that Barbados would come to this? We sure don’t have a whole lot to celebrate after 50 years.
    Clean water is a basic rite for all. Apparently not so in Barbados .

  2. Frustrated Fish October 19, 2016 at 8:35 pm

    I am yet another resident of Mellows Hill, St. Joseph and we are frustrated to realize that the water woes have been going on for over a year now (trouble started in September 2015). We didn’t have water for Independence, not for Christmas nor New Year, and only around April was there a time where we had water coming out of the pipes for 2 weeks. And now the water from the trucks makes us sick too (not just the stagnant water from the community tanks), because it has such a high content of chlorine that it gives us a belly ache. Those who have a car can fill up water bottles at the stand pipes in St. George but those who have to bus it are really in trouble.
    I feel a riot would be in order.


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