Regional

Finally! - Thornton residents celebrate new water supply

Monday, March 31, 2014    

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FOR some persons "going to the river" occasionally is an enjoyable excursion for an invigorating bath at one of the island's beautiful rivers. But when that river is the only source of water for bathing, washing, cooking and every other possible use, the frequent daily journeys are not so pleasurable.

This is why residents of Thornton and other eastern St Thomas communities are celebrating the installation of a pumping unit, a motor control centre and 3,600 metres of iron pipes to take water into their homes. This has been made possible through the Thornton Water Supply Completion Project funded under the Basic Needs Trust Fund and implemented by the Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF).

Approximately 1,710 residents of Thornton, Sunning Hill, Seaforth, Mt Pelier and Prospect are beneficiaries of the project which also saw installation of a booster station, storage tanks, chlorinator and sand filter.

Elrech Dean, a resident of Thornton, expressed gratitude at finally being able to have piped water.

"In the days when we didn't have any water we had to go down into a deep gully and take turns filling our buckets, then come back up with buckets of water on our heads. That water was to drink and to cook so we could not use that to wash," Dean said.

"When the washing time came for the clothes we had to go to Plantain Garden River one mile away. If rain fell when we were down by the river we would have to put the clothes in the pan and take them home wet and it was very heavy to come back up the hill again," she added.

Golden Valley resident George Cole said that the previous pump at Thornton pumping station did not work well.

"Sometimes we did without water for one week, sometimes six months. We used to have to go down to the reservoir to get water or when rain fell we would catch water in barrels and plastic containers to wash clothes. Sometimes only two periods of the year we would have water. We had to bathe in the river or the waterfall," he explained.

Cole also noted that businesses suffered in the communities as they "used to rely on water trucks but they were not frequent and only came once or twice every two weeks".

"Now everybody is happy, the new water system is functioning well", he declared.

Managing Director of JSIF Scarlette Gillings hailed the Thornton Water Supply Completion Project as a "true community effort" involving the Jamaica Agricultural Society, the residents of Thornton who assisted in site clearance, security and storage of materials and provision of land for the storage tank site and the St Thomas Parish Council which will manage and maintain the new system.

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