At a time when many Barbadians are crying out for insufficient water, a group of St Philip operators is desperate to get rid of their excess supply.
However, the problem at Woodbourne, St Philip cannot be blamed on the Barbados Water Authority, but it is currently posing a serious challenge for at least two businesses operating in the flood-prone area.
Three days after heavy rains drenched the entire island, Woodbourne remains completely saturated with water.
In fact, there’s enough water to comfortably take a swim in – except that it’s murky – or better yet, to pump off and use for irrigation.
However, there been little response from the authorities to the plight facing residents in Woodbourne, forcing veterinarian Dr Laura Hutchinson to take matters into her own hands.
With her Trinity Animal Clinic now literally out to sea, Dr Hutchinson has been sailing to work for the past three days. Up to today, she has also been successful in ferrying out a cat and three of the fours dogs that were in her clinic on Tuesday when the surprise showers came.
However, transporting the fourth dog – the biggest of the lot – has been proving to be something of a challenge.
In the meantime, Dr Hutchinson has managed to borrow a commercial water pump from the nearby oilfield, but she is concerned that at the current rate it is going to take at least a week for the murky flood waters to recede, unless Government can come to her rescue.
“I contacted [the] Drainage Unit but I haven’t heard anything back from them. A gentleman from the Department of Emergency Management passed on Wednesday and he had a discussion with us, he said he would try and talk to people but I haven’t heard anything from anybody else yet. Ministers, nobody. I haven’t heard anything,” an exasperated
Dr Hutchinson told Barbados TODAY, stressing she was desperate to have the situation remedied.
“I just want the water off. I just want the water to move faster and I guess to find some sort of solution as to prevent it from collecting like this every time.
“It is not just me,” she said, pointing out that her next-door neighbour operates Woodbourne Kennels “and about six or eight of her kennels are underwater right now.
“So she is getting ready to prepare for Christmas rush with people coming in who are going away on holiday and she can’t really do anything until that water recedes.”
However, this is not the first time that Woodbourne has ended up under water. Six years ago during the passage of Tropical Storm Tomas, a similar situation developed.
Dr Hutchinson, who has been operating in the area for about eight years now, is not about to turn her back on her investment.
“When I started building here, I was told that years ago out here used to flood all of the time when you had heavy, heavy rain, but before Tomas we didn’t see it happen in ages.
“And we have the suck well here which in effect should pull the water off, but because you have had so much rain in the last few weeks, the ground is saturated and a sudden downpour, it has nowhere else to go unfortunately.”
Thankfully none of her animals has been affected by the latest disaster, the result of lessons learned from Tomas, such as, “don’t leave containers on the floor”, she said.
“At the moment, the clinic is still fine. Everything that is in here is fine. We have gotten nearly all of the animals out. We have one dog in here that we will probably move out today, but everybody is fine.
“Mostly what I’m doing now is house calls to keep my clients happy, and that is about all I can do. Other than that, we are shut. We don’t have a choice,” said Dr Hutchinson, who is operating with just one other staff member at the moment. The other two workers are off until work “officially” starts back.
“I’ve invested here already and we are in discussions as to if we are going to raise the driveway so that even if it does flood, we can still get in and out until the water runs off.
The neighbour to whom Dr Hutchinson referred is Rudy Boyce’s wife. The couple owns Woodbourne Boarding and Rescue Kennel. Their home and business were virtually swallowed by the rising waters from the heavy showers.
When Barbados TODAY visited, four of the kennels were still practically under water, and Boyce’s wife, Dorin also revealed that three additional kennels were swamped, pointing to her chest to demonstrate how high the water had risen.
An irritated Boyce said the flooding was a normal occurrence since he moved to the area 20 years ago.
“We came here to live in 1996 but this was going on years before that because this is a valley . . . at the end of the day that [Woodbourne] is where the water ends up; so something has to be done to alleviate the problem – more ducts or wells,” he said.
“Don’t you think on this small little island that they should be able to have sufficient suction of holes to alleviate this so that it never gets to this?” he asked in reference to the authorities.
He also called on the Ministry of Environment to install a proper drainage system in the area.
“This particular area, since all the water from the surrounding area comes here, it makes sense to put in a few more wells to have a good drainage system,” Boyce said.