Some residents of St Joseph and St Peter who have had to contend with persistent water outages, are adopting a wait and see approach after Minister of Water Resources Management, Dr David Estwick, announced steps yesterday to address the problem.
Boscobel, St Peter resident, Karin Rock, expressed serious doubts. “I don’t believe that Barbados having a drought. It’s politics and bare purpose work and we sick of it,” said Rock, who has been living in Boscobel for the past 15 years. “I ain’t believe nothing he say,” she added.
An elderly neighbour, who did not wish to be identified, complained: “The water from the pipe is very, very muddy; you can’t do a thing with it.” However, regardless of its “black, blue or green” appearance, she said the water metre was being read monthly and she was billed.
The elderly resident said she had lost count of how many days she has gone without water. Commenting on Dr Estwick’s promise that a new pumping station at the Lazaretto, Black Rock, St Michael will be supplying the West Coast, including St Peter, with water, she added; “They could stop from talking. From time I was a little girl, only body pipe they used to lock off was Boscobel. . . He ain’t mean Boscobel. He means Speightstown, Ashton, Mile and a Quarter. . . all them down there.”
An elderly gentleman residing at #1 Mount, St Peter said the water supply to the parish “went wrong every since, not now”. Dating the shortage from the 1960’s, he attributed the shortage to a lack of wells provided with houses during the development of Barbados’ infrastructure. “You had one bottle of water feeding 15 cows, now you got the same bottle of water feeding 15 thousand,” was how he summed up the situation.
Tennyson Boyce, another Mount, St Peter resident, contended that Barbadians should take it upon themselves to ease the situation rather than solely depend on the Government for assistance. “I feel if you can spend 200 and 300 dollars on nails and hair, you can invest in a tank,” said the 63-year-old.
Saying he had no interest in blaming either the Opposition or the current Government, Boyce was hopeful about the policies to be implemented, especially the water reuse policy.
Meanwhile, some residents of Lammings, St Joseph were hopeful but concerned about what the future holds for their community. Ingrid Hope told Barbados TODAY the crisis had placed great pressure on herself and the community. “Right now, I have some chickens . . . to be fed; there ain’t no water (so) I have to kill them out because I can no longer feed them,” she said.
Hope said she has been forced to fetch water from her work place but was concerned about her neighbours. “They have people in the neighbourhood that don’t have cars that they can go by a nearby stand pipe. It really hurts my heart to see sometimes we have to catch water for some of the old folks because they can’t come out to the community tanks,” she said.
Commenting on Dr Estwick’s announcement that two desalination plants and a water reuse policy will be implemented to bring relief to water-deprived areas, Hope said: “Nothing beats a trial. So we can go with the flow”.
She added that despite not getting water, bills were still coming in ranging from $32. to $120. She felt residents should be reimbursed or at least pay a very low cost.
Clifford Hall, 46, also expressed concern about receiving a water bill for no service from December to January. “Up hay we ain’t getting no water, but then they send out a bill last month for $26.50 and I ain’t had water for 23 days. When my brother went to pay, them
tell he he should turn off the metre. That’s nonsense.”
The outraged St Joseph resident went on: “All down in St Michael getting water. Why St Joseph can’t get water?” That’s foolishness. Why climate change ain’t happening in St Michael or Christ Church? Why up here in St Joseph?”