Water woes could force closure of Clarendon basic school
MAY PEN, Clarendon — The chronic water problem currently being experienced by communities in sections of Central and South East Clarendon could soon force at least one of the parish's infant schools to temporarily close its doors.
The Canaan Heights Basic School, located on the outskirts of the parish capital May Pen, has been without piped water for the past two months because of mechanical problems affecting the National Water Commission (NWC) distribution system. The situation is so dire that teachers have been forced to purchase the precious commodity to cater the needs of their students.
Principal Andrea Rivers, said while the staff and students will continue to make do with what little water they get, she is not ruling out suspending classes should the situation get worse.
"We have been having the problem for quite a while now," she told Observer Central, "but since the school year began we haven't had any water in the pipe, so we have to beg and buy water.
"The children don't have any water to flush the toilet or wash their hands, which is a major problem," added Rivers, who presides over a school population comprising 55 students and two teachers.
"We were even considering closing but, because we got some water to buy today, we didn't bother, so we will continue to purchase if we have to and just assess the situation as time goes by," she said.
Other communities said to be seriously affected by the water shortage include Palmers Cross, Savannah Cross, Longbridge Avenue and Chatteau.
Noel Kennedy, manager of National Water Commission (NWC), Clarendon said mechanical problems with a pump is responsible for the disruption.
He assured residents that while the NWC continues to do its best to rectify the problem, there will be a consistent supply of trucked water.
"The communities have been without water specifically because there's a mechanical problem at the plant. NWC is, however, doing all that it can to return the plant to full operation as soon as possible," Kennedy said.
"As we speak, the maintenance department is working assiduously to get the pump up and running, and, in the meantime, we have been trucking water to the communities for the past (two weeks). But, as usual, that is never adequate, so we, therefore, try to ensure that the schools and health centres are first to get water then we move into the communities," he said.
Despite these reassurances, however, Rivers claimed that no trucked water from the NWC had reached her school .
"We dont get any water fromn the NWC," she said. "The NWC don't come over here. All we hear is that there's a problem with the pump that supply us with water," she added.