Residents of Boscobel, St Peter are having trouble summoning the spirit of Christmas, with the thought of spending another holiday without running water weighing on their minds.
Attention might have shifted from water outages in the east and north of the island to the sewage crisis on the south coast, but Boscobel’s water problems remain a horrible discomfort for the community.
For many, this could be the third Christmas in a row with dry taps and it is not a comforting thought.
“Every Christmas for the last three years we had no water,” a furious Collene Badal told Barbados TODAY this evening.
“Can’t clean, can’t cook, can’t do anything. This has been going on too long. Every Christmas you can’t even get a proper meal. This is outrageous,” Badal added.
She complained that over the past two months the water supply has been on again, off again, but mostly off.
Last week alone, Badal said, it was off for four days, and this week, the last time any water flowed from their taps was on Tuesday.
And while the community struggled with the outages, the Barbados Water Authority (BWA) did little to ease the woes, she said.
“One tank [water tanker] came through and filled one man tank and went back out. I called Mr Mwanza [BWA Acting General Manager Dr John Mwanza] and asked him why the people haven’t come to fill our tanks. He say he would check it out. That isn’t enough,” Badal said.
“It’s annoying. If not for some rain water we catch up I don’t know what would happen, and that is just used to flush the toilets. It isn’t easy to bathe out of a pan. This is inhumane,” she stressed.
Badal’s frustration was shared by Dorian Boyce and Emerald Hewitt, both of whom cried they had had enough and simply could not endure any more outages.
Boyce told Barbados TODAY her family had Christmas lunch away from home last year, and they were worried the same might happen this year.
“Last year [Christmas] we didn’t have water either,” she said.
“I haven’t seen water or a truck since Tuesday, but the guys when they do come they try to help me out.”
For Hewitt, who has not had water since Monday, the lack of communication from the BWA was as troubling as the seemingly endless water outages.
In fact, she believes the water company has no regard for the people of Boscobel.
“Four days now, the tanks still empty. They [BWA] said they were going to come back and wash out the tank and fill it back up but they haven’t even come back to wash it out, so I don’t know what they’re doing. One truck came and it went and filled one guy’s tank and left, then another one came, gave some people water then it went back out. I tried shouting for the man but he like he didn’t hear me.
“I need water because I don’t have much. No one tells us anything. It doesn’t come over the radio, nothing. They tell everyone but they don’t tell us. It don’t seem like we are on the map. Christmas last year we didn’t have water either. We had to be waiting around on the trucks. I don’t know what will happen [this year]. We really need water,” Hewitt said.
Meantime, despite her exasperation, Badal said she would not allow the water outage to steal her Christmas joy.
Still, she could not help but being angry at the situation.
“My husband got up this morning and did a little painting just to keep the spirits up, but you still can’t clean up when you’re finished painting. I’m so vex. I don’t understand it. Enough is enough. We have been going through this too long,” she emphasized.
Up to the time of publication, efforts to reach Mwanza for a comment were unsuccessful.