Just when the people of St Joseph thought the water problems that plagued the rural district in recent years were behind them, they received a stunning reminder this week of their nightmarish experiences.
A year after Member of Parliament Dale Marshall admitted that there was “really a tremendous improvement” after years of persistent water outages that infuriated residents and prompted a protest march outside the Barbados Water Authority (BWA) office, the residents have been experiencing dry taps over the past three days.
“This started the Sunday of Reggae on the Hill. You believe when I went home sweaty and up and come home to find the water off?” one person told Barbados TODAY.
The BWA issued a statement today advising that it was experiencing problems at one of its boreholes which supplies water to the Castle Grant reservoir.
It said maintenance of the borehole was expected “to take a few days” as it had to mobilize heavy equipment to complete the job.
In the meantime, it said, “adjustments will be made in the distribution network to augment the water supply to the Castle Grant area from Apes Hill and Golden Ridge in an effort to minimize disruptions”.
The water company has been supplying the affected areas with water via its tankers, much to the pleasure of the residents who had high praise for the rapid response team.
When Barbados TODAY visited the area about 1 p.m. today, four water trucks were making their way through Horse Hill and Branchbury, St Joseph.
One of the residents in Horse Hill told Barbados TODAY there were “more water tankers than Transport Board buses”, a reference to the problems with the bus service in the area.
“There are like six or seven [water tankers] every day. The men really make sure we have water,” he said.
However, many still voiced concern about the quality of the water, particularly the supply in the tanks that were installed two years ago when the crisis was at its worst.
One woman who has a young child and who owns a business in the area, said she was concerned about their health, particularly because they had not had a proper bath in several days.
Another resident, businessman Anthony Hunte, the owner of Hunte’s Gardens, questioned why the pumps had not been adequately maintained, charging that if not for the rain he might have had to count his losses.
“In the past when we have had outages we [depended on] tanks because we run the number one garden in the Caribbean and it is very important that we do not lose any of our stock,” Hunte said.
However, Hunte said his business has not been severely impacted by the latest outage because the BWA has helped by sending water tankers when he needs them.
Fed up with years of consistent water outages, residents of St Joseph made their frustration known to the BWA in 2016 by staging a march outside the water company’s offices in The Pine, St Michael, in the hope of spurring the BWA into finding a lasting solution.
However, over the past year the utility company appeared to have had a grip on the situation, until the current outage.