A resident in Padmore district attempts to turn on the pipe but there is no water to fill his plastic bottles. (Photo: Brittny Hutchinson)
St Andrew West Rural residents furious after nearly two months without piped water

FOR almost two months not even a drop of water has run through the household taps of scores of residents in some communities in St Andrew West Rural.

These include Padmore District and Rock Hall, where residents have been struggling daily without the precious commodity.

The residents, who are also battling with limited storage facilities for the little water they do receive through a standpipe, told the Jamaica Observer that they have been plagued by water woes for years.

Eighty-one-year-old chicken farmer Aston Green from Padmore said he is contemplating putting a pause on raising his chickens because of the poor water supply.

“Right now mi not even know if me ago raise more chicken because mi can't cope with it, because me no have no water,” said Green.

“From the pump bruk down we have been suffering. Truck come in the area and none don't come by our section for us to get some. We can't tek it no more,” Green added.

Expressing similar frustration was Doretta Wallace,who is also from Padmore. “Is what leave in the tank I use. The water in my tank now is low, low, low. That can't even carry me for the rest of this week.”

A 51-year-old woman from the district who requested anonymity also voiced her displeasure about the absence of water.

She said even when issues at the pumping station near her community have been resolved, they still get a limited supply of water.

“On a regular basis we still having issues because even just two times for the week we actually get water [but] as soon as they turn on the water, then it goes — so we are not understanding what type of system we have in Padmore. It has been going on for almost 20 years now,” the woman told the Observer.

“Even though we have storage, it is now almost empty and we still don't have any alternatives in terms of getting water unless we are actually going to purchase it, which is not feasible because some people cannot afford it. Kids in the area have to go to school, we have to cook, and now with COVID-19 it even makes matters worse,” she added as she called on the National Water Commission (NWC) to upgrade the water supply system.

Meanwhile in Rock Hall, a 22-year-old woman who did not wish to be named sang the same woeful tune.

She told the Observer that she has not been able to do her laundry or have a proper shower since the latest round of water problems some two months ago.

“Completing [or trying] to do simple daily tasks around my home is dreadful these days since there's no water. We have to bathe from pans and buckets, buy water to use for cooking and drinking… it's very frustrating. And the worst thing about it is that we are still being sent a water bill at the end of each month. We need this issue to be addressed. The last time things were this bad, we ended up having to block the roads,” she said.

“It's 2021, we should not be taking those barbaric measures in order to get access to a commodity of such importance. And let me remind you, it's something we're paying for. [Prime Minister] Andrew Holness need fi fix this,” the frustrated woman added.

Yesterday Member of Parliament for the constituency Juliet Cuthbert-Flynn told the Observer that she could not provide any information on the problem as she was assured that water would have been restored to the community.

According to Cuthbert-Flynn, she would have to check with the NWC for an update.

A 22-year-old woman in Rock Hall shows her empty drum as she complained that despite no water in her pipes she continues to get monthly bills from the NWC
BY BRITTNY HUTCHINSON Observer staff reporter hutchinsonb@jamaicaobserver.com

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