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Dry Taps In St Joseph


Lisa King

Dry Taps In St Joseph

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Elsa Clarke is angry. Angry because although for long periods her taps did not give even a drop of water, she still had to pay a water bill for the normal amount last Wednesday.
Clarke is one of the many residents of Surinam Road in St Joseph who find it difficult to engage in their usual daily activities. “When you have to clean, cook, wash and bathe, you are in the duck’s guts because there is not a single drop of water,” she lamented. “This is really getting to me so much that my pressure gone up in the air.”
Clarke, who has lived in Surinam Road for 14 years, said the problem had been a recurring one since she moved into the area, with residents sometimes getting water for a week and then being without it for an extended period. 
She has several containers for collecting water but sometimes the “drought” lasts so long that the supply often runs out. Clarke also complained that the water tankers which are sent out to assist residents seldom ever come to her area.
Other Surinam Road residents complained of similar problems. Crystal Hall reported that she was getting water but it was “running real slow”. Hall said the long-standing water problems had prevented her children from attending school many times.
She complained that water tankers were dispatched when people were not at home.
“For years we have been hearing that the water pressure in the reservoir is low. The length of time it has been like that, by now it should be empty,” said a Horse Hill, Orange Cottage resident.The man, who preferred to remain anonymous, said the Barbados Water Authority had not taken any steps to rectify problems which had plagued the St Joseph communities for many years. 
Like Hall, he complained about the water tanker being deployed when most people were at work. He added, “On some days you wake up and the water is off; then it comes back on when people are at work or early in the morning when you are asleep.”
The situation is so dire that some residents have installed water storage tanks, while others have acquired other water storage containers to ensure they can have baths and keep their surroundings clean. Said one Horse Hill resident: “A few years ago it got so bad, and after all that trouble I bought a tank, so if it goes off I don’t even know anymore.” 
Regarding the claim that customers were being billed for services they did not receive, communications specialist with the Barbados Water Authority (BWA), Yvette Harris-Griffith, said: “It is advisable for any customer who wishes to make a case to the authority for a credit to be issued for water service not received to do so in writing. Their letters will be acknowledged and the decision communicated to them as well.”
She added that if it was found after investigation that the claim was valid, then the relevant department would be advised to make the requisite credit adjustment to the customer’s account.

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