The community water tanks that served as sources of relief for residents of St Andrew, St Joseph and St Thomas during frequent and lengthy water outages last year could become cradles of disease, many residents fear.
Now that the water woes appear to be over, the tanks have been virtually abandoned by the Barbados Water Authority (BWA) and could soon be home to rats and other vermin, they complain.
Some also fear that another prolonged shortage in the known water-scarce areas could leave their communities with no sanitary potable water collection points.
When Barbados TODAY visited St Andrew and St Joseph Wednesday, the tank covers were on, but the outflow pipes had been cut and left opened, making it easy for rodents and other pests to crawl in.
“This can’t be good enough because they cut the connecting pipe on the tank and leave it open like that for months now. Anything could crawl up in these tanks and if we have another water problem they would just come and put water back in that and get everybody sick,” Sophia Greenidge, a resident of Spa Hill, St Joseph said.
“This is not good enough because St Joseph always have water problems and we don’t know when it can return.”
Similar sentiments were shared by a Chalky Mount, St Andrew resident who spoke on condition of anonymity.
“I am having no water issues at the moment but I really don’t like how they leave the tanks because you never know when you going to need them again,” he said.
While many were grateful that water was flowing through their taps again, there still remained some residual issues, which individuals were hoping would get the water company’s urgent attention.
Among the concerns highlighted were the inconsistency of the water pressure and the insistence by the BWA that water bills received during the months of water outages must be paid.
Reports of low water pressure and periodic water outages were especially prevalent in the St Joseph communities of Spa Hill and Horse Hill.
“The situation is a lot better than it was last year but the water pressure is not consistent. The water flow is the heaviest at around 2 a.m. and then sometimes it goes off around mid-morning and comes back on in the afternoon with very low pressure. So if you don’t get up early and catch up water you could find yourself in trouble,” David Brathwaite revealed.
The Spa Hill resident expressed anger over being billed for water he never had and a convenience he never enjoyed.
To add insult to injury, Brathwaite told Barbados TODAY, his many attempts to have the issue rectified had been met with the run around by the BWA.
Member of Parliament for St Joseph Dale Marshall has repeatedly said the BWA should cancel its bills to residents for a few months to ease consumers’ suffering.
On one such occasion, at a town hall meeting at George Lamming Primary School in January last year, Marshall said the gesture would help change the people’s perception of the state-owned water company, which had been the subject of their wrath due to the long running water outages.