Three days into the work stoppage at the Barbados Water Authority (BWA), the already inconvenienced residents of St Joseph have already begun to experience further deterioration in the supply of potable water to their districts.
When a team from Barbados TODAY visited that rural parish this afternoon, many of the residents complained that the supply had deteriorated so badly that they were forced to journey from one district to another, and sometimes across parish boundaries to fetch water.
One resident who lives in Lammings, St Joseph, said he has had to travel to his mother’s home in Fairview, St George for water.
Explaining the inconvenience he has had to suffer as a result of the outages, Vernon Eversley said: “The residents of Lammings, St Joseph began to experience a problem with water from today. The last time a water tanker brought water to Lammings was Wednesday, the first day of the work stoppage at the BWA. I have resigned myself to the frequent water outages so I now travel to my mother’s home in Fairview, St George, to get water.”
In Chimborazo, St Joseph, the Barbados TODAY team caught up with Anderson Layne of Lammings, St Joseph who was filling several plastic bottles and buckets from the district’s standpipe and loading them into the boot of his car.
“I live in Lammings but I have to come to this standpipe in Chimborazo to get some water. Sometimes I travel as far as Applewaite’s in St George to get water from standpipes. I find that you seem to get water from standpipes even if it is a mere trickle. The water in Lammings went off this morning and that explains why I am hunting water in Chimborazo this afternoon,” said the seemingly unperturbed Layne.
Eighty-one year-old Lorraine Carrington of Chimborazo was more philosophical, saying: “I am aware that the workers at the BWA are on strike, but they have to look after their interests. I am concerned because at present I only have two bottles of water in the house. A BWA worker visited my home recently and said the hose he was using to fill my tank was too short and promised to return. That worker is yet to return to fill my tank.”
Voicing concern that her business could collapse if she did not have access to a steady supply of water, Sharon Drakes stated: “My house is located next to a dry standpipe and a community tank that seldom has water. Without water I cannot make my natural juices and make a living.”
Vietlin Murray of Lammings, St Joseph complained that she had returned home from work to be greeted by dry taps.
“I have just returned from work hoping to start my week-end laundry but the taps are dry. We had water Wednesday and Thursday, but none today. I enjoy gardening but because of the water outages my gardens are suffering,” Murray told Barbados TODAY.
Another resident of Chimborazo who gave his name as “Bobo” said the situation was so dire that the people from the district had resorted to using “a wet piece of cloth to wash under their arms” as a substitute for a bath.
Meanwhile, the Barbados Workers Union (BWU) today issued a press release accusing the board and management of the BWA and the Ministry of Water Resource Management of appearing “unbothered by the action which will now, in all likelihood create further water worries to the general public”.
The union, which has threatened to keep the workers off the job for as long as is necessary, said its efforts at demonstrating “without necessarily holding everyone to ransom” had not appealed to “the consciousness nor the sensitivity of those whose response can make a difference”.
The BWA has yet to comment on the strike, with one official telling Barbados TODAY a press release would likely be issued next week.