Christmas Day without water isn’t something new to the people of St Joseph but the night before Christmas many there still wish that Government will end the parish’s water woes once and for all.
On Monday, some parts of St Joseph and St Thomas were affected by a water outage because of low reservoir levels at the Castle Grant station. By evening, water was restored to customers in Lammings, Branchbury, Bonwell and surrounding areas. Water authority officials said they anticipated that once levels at Castle Grant rise, the water supply would be restored to all of the affected districts but until then, low pressure may be experienced.
The water scarcity has left a bitter taste in the mouths of St Joseph residents who already experienced severe outages during the island’s drought from 2015 to 2016.
“The last Government that was in didn’t get this problem solved and at least we are expecting this Government to solve it,” said Braggs Hill resident Victor White.
White said he wants authorities to stop talking and playing the blame game and come up with solutions.
“Come and do your work that is what to come and do, don’t mention nothing of what the other Government did,” he added.
The St Joseph resident described the occasional outages as “terrible” and reiterated that having no access to water during the holiday was “rough”.
“No water. You can’t bathe, you can’t eat, nothing at all; you can’t sleep you can’t wash – nothing!” he told Barbados TODAY.
Many residents who did not have water tanks were left to buckets and waiting on the water tanks to arrive, said White.
The Barbados Water Authority (BWA) has deployed its tanker fleet to assist residents of affected communities which were still offline. But White contended that the water trucks’ operations needed to be re-evaluated.
“They aren’t operating the right way. You coming through a village you should be blowing [the horn] and letting people know because you inside doing something or trying to do something you hear something blow that doesn’t mean it is the water truck . . . . They should have a different horn to blow for the water truck but nothing so. You just pass through driving and you only stopping when somebody come out and flag you down like them is a bus.”
Lammings resident Decoursey Holder told Barbados TODAY that every Christmas, water outages were a problem in the district but he had grown accustomed to the outages and was prepared.
“I don’t have a tank but I store a lot of water and I guess the people get so accustomed to this that those who don’t have tanks store their water so they are always prepared just in case anything happened,” he said.
Holder also said that while he was confident in the BWA’s ability to help, he wanted more communication between the authority and residents.
“All I am asking them to do is when you have problems… just let the people of St Joseph know they are going to have problems just like they let the people in Christ Church and other areas know.
“Don’t just turn it off and nobody knows what is the reason . . . . Tell us we are having problems, the water will be off between x-y time and we can live with that, we can operate. When you got it off a whole day and nobody says anything it is going to have people annoyed,” he said.
“The people up here ain’t washing cars with hoses or anything. A fellow might wash his car but he’s using a bucket. For the last three years, we knew what it was and we make sure that we conserve water,” Holder continued.
A BWA statement also confirmed that water service has been restored to areas in St. George, St. Philip and Christ Church affected by water loss earlier today as a result of power outages which affected some of its pumping stations.
The BWA said that a fleet of approximately nine water tankers and its super tanker have been deployed to assist customers while outages persist.
The authority said it was also receiving assistance from partners in both the public and private sector to carry out the tanker service.
Seale’s Trucking has come on board to help distribute water and the Barbados Defence Force is providing crews to help sustain the distribution of water by tanker. Members of the BWA team were also in the field today distributing buckets to assist customers. [email protected]