St Thomas residents reeling after five days without water
Water being supplied to the Isaac Barrant Centre of Excellence, a health centre in Hampton Court, St Thomas.

ST THOMAS, Jamaica — Yvonne McFarlane, a resident of Hill Top in St Thomas, who makes a living selling fish in Duckenfield, is carefully rationing the water she has stored. It has been five days since the National Water Commission’s (NWC) supply of the commodity stopped flowing from the pipes in several communities in Eastern St Thomas, and McFarlane, like many of her neighbours, has had to put laundry on hold.

“Mi have drinking water store up but mi have clothes fi wash and cyaan wash dem because no wata nuh deh from Saturday,” she told OBSERVER ONLINE.

She has been forced to buy water for her business and her pocket is feeling the pinch.

“It already a cost mi every day fi buy water fi use ina di shop wid di customers. Mi cyaan manage… if mi water run out and water commission nuh put on back the wata,” she lamented.

The lack of water has been attributed to an internal electrical problem at the NWC’s Apple Farm Water Facility. Among the communities affected are Duckenfield, Hill Top, Hampton Court, Wheelersfield, Cheswick, along with surrounding areas.

On July 1, the NWC issued an advisory that a single-phase power supply problem was affecting pumping operations. This resulted in the disruption of water supply in the areas served by the Apple Farm Water Facility.

The NWC sent out a text message on Tuesday, August 9, advising customers that an ongoing disruption in supply was due to an internal electrical problem. It also said water would be restored at 6:00 pm.

However, up to 6:00 pm on Wednesday taps in the affected communities remained dry.

Jermaine Murray, a resident of Hampton Court, said community members have long exhausted the two days’ supply of water they had stored in barrels. Since then they have been paying taxi and motorcycle operators to transport water from a nearby spring in Wheelersfield.

“It a bun wi pocket, every time wata gone, dem tell wi di same ting, ‘pump bun up’,” said the obviously frustrated Murray.

Before this extended disruption in service, he said, the water supply had been erratic for the past month.

Several attempts to get an update from the NWC’s Community Relations Department in Eastern St Thomas were unsuccessful as the phone lines rang without an answer. When contacted on Tuesday NWC’s Corporate Communications Manager, Andrew Canon, asked that questions be emailed to him. Up to 6:00 pm on Wednesday there was no reply to the email and efforts to once again reach him by phone were unsuccessful.

Shadae Stewart

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