Regional

'St Thomas crisis'

Water restrictions cripple farming, household activities in White Horses

BY KIMONE FRANCIS
Senior staff reporter
francisk@jamaicaobserver.com

Monday, July 08, 2019

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Intermittent water supply in White Horses, St Thomas, has forced residents out of their homes and onto the streets to carry out basic household chores, even as monthly National Water Commission (NWC) bills continue to come.

The under-resourced community, only metres away from the parish's shoreline, has not had a steady flow of water since March, residents have said.

“Right now we have a water crisis here in St Thomas. We're not getting any water and some of us live up on the hill. So if them do turn on the pipe a lot of us don't get any, and when them turn on the pipe them turn it on for like half-hour and then turn it off back. So we're really having a crisis,” a man who gave his name as Tyrone told the Jamaica Observer North & East during a visit to the parish last Wednesday.

Tyrone was spotted among a group of people by a popular spring in Roselle in the parish doing his laundry, an activity he sometimes does twice per week at the location.

“We have to take taxi come out here to wash, so it costs us extra money to come out here to wash. And when we finish wash, we have to call taxi again to come take us home,” Observer North & East was told.

Tyrone said it costs him $1000 each time he has to get to the spring and back home, putting significant pressure on his pocket.

“We have to charter a taxi, and plenty people pay more and other people have their own transportation. So the people who have them transportation nuh really mind, but like us who have to charter taxi, it's very bad.

“A lot of us depend on water because we in St Thomas don't have jobs that we go to. We raise our chicken, that is our source of living, and we do we likkle farming and we do our likkle planting. So without water, it's like we have no life,” the man said.

He stressed that the situation is nothing short of outrageous, because residents still “receive them water bill every month”.

His brother Thomas described the situation as “unpleasant” and said it ranked among the worst in recent history in the parish. The two have lived in the parish for more than 20 years.

Debbie said she is at the location approximately three times during the month to do her laundry and fill bottles for chores.

For her, while the spring is “refreshing”, the lack of steady water supply has affected her business.

“The water is refreshing and I don't mind using it. When I come here and use it I sleep well at nights. The only problem I have with not having water at home is that I raise chickens and I need the water for them.

“We have to take taxi, because we don't have our own cars. And we full containers, bottles and stuff like that — whatever we can carry to take back home so that we can have water to flush toilet, do the dishes, and even drink it. We have to do all this but we still have to pay NWC. I guess sometimes it do comes, but not often,” said Debbie.


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