BY MARK CUMMINGS Editor-at-Large, Western Bureau email@example.com
SHERWOOD CONTENT, Trelawny - The National Water Commission (NWC) yesterday reported that water has been restored to customers in Sherwood Content and several adjoining districts, including Peidmount, Reserve and Coxheath.
The announcement came just over two weeks after sprint legend Usain Bolt said that he will be lobbying Government for a reliable water supply in his native Sherwood Content community.
He made the disclosure last month after the Usain Bolt Foundation and the Digicel Foundation handed over a $4-million multi-purpose court in Sherwood Content, expected to benefit some 1,500 residents.
Sherwood Content has suffered from a lack of piped water from the National Water Commission (NWC) since the famed sprinter's childhood days.
But Julia Gordon, the NWC's community relations manager for the western region told the Observer West yesterday that a new pump costing $1.4 million has been installed at the pumping station in the community, after the facility was vandalised.
"Operations at the Sherwood Content pumping station had to be halted for several months, after thieves vandalised the facility and stole the pump, switch-gear and other appurtenance. This unscrupulous activity resulted in an extended disruption in piped water supply and has frustrated relations between the NWC and its valued customers in the communities served by the Sherwood Content system," Gordon explained.
She said in the aftermath of the theft and in keeping with Government procurement guidelines, the commission ordered the requisite replacement equipment from overseas last year.
The equipment, she added, arrived in the island late last month and was "installed immediately."
" The NWC in fulfilment of established quality standards took the necessary steps to clean and sterilise the storage tank, settling tank and clarifiers, as well as flush the distribution line — a routine action undertaken when a system is out of operation for an extended period," added Gordon.
But residents of Sherwood Content are charging that the community is still without a reliable water supply.
" From wi get water a few Sundays ago, we don't get any more, so the water is not really back as yet," said Carmen Barrett.
She said the community has been with a regular supply of the community for several years.
Another resident, Petronia Clarke, said she too is affected by the irregular supply of water in the community.
She stressed that area residents are now prepared to stage protest action in a bid to highlight their plight.
But Telka Holt, the councillor for the Sherwood Content Division, is urging the residents to be patient.
She noted that representatives of the NWC have been working feverishly in an effort to have water fully restored to the affected areas.
" I am hoping that within the next two weeks the regular water supply will return," said Holt, who has consistently lobbied for a reliable supply of water for the residents since she was elected to the Trelawny Parish Council just over a year ago.
The absence or inadequacy of running water remains a huge problem for a large segment of Jamaica 's rural population.
Meanwhile, Gordon is appealing to persons to desist from vandalising the NWC facilities, stealing its equipment and interfering with its operations.
" These acts cause great financial strain and impede the company's ability to conduct critical system improvements and implementation of capital projects," she argued.