Forget presents under the Christmas tree; the people of Branchbury, St Joseph would much rather receive the gift of running water for the holidays.
The taps have been dry for over a week, leading residents to lament the “high class wuflessness” that they face on the eve of this season of celebration.
“This is bare high class wuflessness,” cried a frustrated Julian Burrowes, who has resided at Branchbury for the past 72 years.
“Sunday morning I wake up to go church, not an ounce of water. If you go in my house and turn on a pipe, you can’t believe that water ever come through that pipe; you ain’t even getting little air.”
The elderly man spoke of the challenges he faced doing simple chores and the embarrassment of having to take a bath in a limited supply of water.
“The worst thing [is] I bathe three times out of five gallon of water for the last three days,” Burrowes told Barbados TODAY yesterday.
Minister for Water Resource Management Dr David Estwick announced in early October that tanks would be stationed in appropriate areas that experienced regular outages to help augment the water supply.
“How we plan to execute this, is by introducing within the catchment area that is being serviced by a particular reservoir that is being compromised, a series of community tanks into that area. These community tanks that will be delivered will be placed at particular locations within that community and these tanks will be then refilled . . . by the various water tankers coming in to the area as opposed to people having to be running behind a water tanker to access water, ” he said at the time.
While the team from Barbados TODAY was on the scene, a water truck from the Barbados Water Authority (BWA) arrived to fill the tanks placed there. However, residents complained that these tanks had been dry for almost a week.
“It’s been about four days that [the tank] has been there now without a drop of water in it. Three or four days, them ain’t put a drop of water in it.
“All the places such as St Andrew, St Thomas and St Joseph have been complaining for water for years, [however] whenever the [BWA] decided that they are going to go and do the pipes where they said they had bad mains, they went where people didn’t have no problem and repaired theirs and all like now we still having the same problem and it getting worse,” Burrowes complained.
It has been no less uncomfortable for Raneisha Culpepper, a 21-year-old mother of one, who described the situation as “very ridiculous”. She said the taps were dry for most of the day and whenever there was water it was not at the best of times.
“It’s very ridiculous, how the water going to come on at 4:30 in the morning when people sleeping then it would actually go off around 9 or 10 in the same morning and people have to go to work, do their daily routines. [For the Christmas season] people have to get water to clean their house,” she said.
Small farmer Julie Wilkinson and her siblings raise chickens. At present they have a brood of 25, which they fear could die as a result of the water shortage.
“It don’t make no sense that I raise it from small and then I got to turn around and bury it. That would hurt my heart,” said Wilkinson.
Attempts to reaach the BWA today were unsuccessful but residents said the situation had not improved.
Like many in the district, Christmas preparations are at a standstill for the Wilkinson family. Without water they are unable to cook or clean, and the uncertainty is palpable.
“Christmas Day when I wake up now, what we going [to] do?” asked Wilkinson. “I got to eat corned beef and sardine?”