Dry taps a turn-off
by SHERIA BRATHWAITE
DRY TAPS continue to run down the patience of residents in Redmans Village, St Thomas, and have cost at least one farmer thousands of dollars in livestock.
They expressed their frustrations yesterday over water outages they said they have been experiencing since last December.
“The water was on and off from Christmas Day,” said small farmer Curtis Knight, who was unscrewing a 250-gallon tank on his farm to allow a worker at the Barbados Water Authority (BWA) to run a hose from the tanker to his tank.
“It’s ridiculous, man. When you keeping pigs, water is a must. I just lost a pregnant sow that was going to drop within eight days because I didn’t have no water,” he said.
Knight reported that the water usually came on around 2 or 3 o’clock in the morning and ran slowly.
Retiree Patrick Bishop, who was walking to the BWA water tank with bucket in hand, said while his water was running low or off altogether, the water bill was running up.
“I live by myself so I don’t pay that much, but I can’t understand how my bill gone up to about $80 from $35 a month, the water off and I still paying the full thing,” he said.
Shakira Brooks said she was frustrated because water was a vital commodity.
“The situation is horrible, it is overbearing and I am fed up,” she told the DAILY NATION. “I am unable to do laundry and cook and it is difficult to get the children ready for school. In the past it used to go on and off, but every other day or at night it would come on so we knew how to work around it. But this is the worst yet. Sometimes it’s off three and four days straight and other times a week.”
Brooks said the outages also caused people to run into issues with their employers, who were not always considerate about their challenges.
Well-known calypsonian Brian Bumba Payne said: “We can’t live without water and luckily the trucks come through regularly. We always hear about low pressure issues but I think they should give us constant updates on the progress of what is happening.”
He suggested desalination (removing salt from seawater) could be a short- or medium-term solution to the constant outages.
BWA workmen were in the area putting down concrete slabs to host community water tanks and by 6 p.m., three tanks were placed.
In a press release, BWA marketing officer Yvette Harris-Griffith said the authority was responding to assist residents of Redmans Village and nearby Kew Land.
She said six 1 000-gallon community tanks were installed, three in Kew Land and three in Redmans Village. They were donated by corporate entities last December.
“The authority has recently been experiencing a number of challenges, including mechanical and electrical issues which have affected the ability of the BWA to maintain reservoir levels that would allow for continuous pumping from some of its facilities,” said Harris-Griffith. “[These have] in turn impacted residents of some areas by periodic water outages or low water pressure.”
BWA WORKER Rodney Williams (at top) helping small farmer Curtis Knight replenish his water reserves. (Pictures by Lennox Devonish.)
RETIREE PATRICK BISHOP said his water bill should reflect the outages he and neighbours have been experiencing.
SHAKIRA BROOKS said not having water was “killing” her.