Roaring River pipes dry despite supplying other communities
A devout PNP stronghold, but roads dilapidatedThursday, August 27, 2015
BY MARK CUMMINGS Editor-at-Large, Western Bureau email@example.com
ROARING RIVER, Westmoreland — ROARING River residents are livid. The small Westmoreland community, which has an abundance of springs and a steady flow of water that snakes through the lush district, on a daily basis produces roughly four million gallons of water at its two treatment plants for distribution to many districts in the parish.
The areas supplied include: Shrewsbury, Shrewsbury Housing Scheme, Petersfield, Amity, Carawina, Hertford, Torrington, George's Plain, Frome, Dunbars River, Savanna-la-Mar, Llandilo Housing Scheme Phases, Kingswood, Big Bridge, Galloway, Lindos Hill, Hatfield, Whithorn, Caledonia and Darliston.
But, for years, the majority of Roaring River residents have none in their taps.
Fed up with the lack of potable water in the community and other issues impacting negatively on the community, the disgruntled residents took to the streets last week to vent their frustrations at their political representatives.
When Jamaica Observer West visited the community on the weekend, residents were adamant that the political representatives must move post-haste to address the ills of the community.
"Imagine, we have two large water-treatment plants in the area, which produces millions of gallons of water daily that is going to a number of communities, and we have none. And that is one thing that the people here are so angry about," said Terry Ann Findlay, a disgruntled Roaring River resident.
"They [residents] are saying that all these communities in the western region are getting water from our community, and they have water all the time, and we live here and don't have any," she added.
Roaring River, which has a population of roughly 600 residents, is divided into three sections: River Head, Corner and Cocoa Top.
Checks by Observer West revealed that River Head and Corner have been getting piped water intermittently for several years, while Cocoa Top has been without any of the commodity since May, after a defective water-storage tank was taken out of service.
The residents who stressed that they have been supporters of the ruling People's National Party (PNP) for decades, say the lack of water in the district is not the only ill besetting the community.
They pointed to poor road conditions, no job opportunities, and the need for the reopening of the Roaring River attraction that has been closed for more than five years.
"There are no jobs... what really is the plan for us?" Findlay asked.
She added: "People are laughing at us, saying that we are die-hard PNP, yet we are being treated in this way. Other communities are mixed have PNP and JLP supporters, but Roaring River is strictly PNP, and so now we are the laughing stock of the parish... we are devoted to the PNP and we don't see any progress. The young people are now saying that enough is enough. Persons are now up to their necks."
Clive Smith, another Roaring River resident, concurred with Findlay and called for the intervention of PNP president and Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller.
"The people dem can't flush their toilets and wash their hands. Mi two pickney dem in Kingston and mi can't mek dem come down here. It hurts to know that we have so much water here and we can't get any in the pipes. Mi can't see the councillor, mi don't see the MP, mi want to know what is going on. Sister P [Simpson Miller] needs to step in and deal with the thing because them a handle wi bad; wi nuh deserve it," Smith said.
"Check the whole community. When you check it you won't find five Labourites here. Wi want Sister P to sit down and look on it because wi nah live no life. Wi a human, we are not animals. Sister P, nuh mek dem tie wi down any longer, loose wi," he said.
But Government member of parliament for the area, Dwayne Vaz, who earlier this week met with the disgruntled residents, said efforts are being made to address their concerns.
"We are working to ensure that the issues are resolved in short order. I understand the concerns of the residents... to know that they are living at the source, yet they are not
getting water," said Vaz, acknowledging that the matter of water in the community is a long-standing issue.
He added that he has already had discussions with minister of state in the Ministry of Water, Land, Environment and Climate Change Ian Hayles
on the matter. He said
that distribution lines should be installed in the community very soon.
Also, he noted that the Ministry of Local Government and Community Development has already allocated funds
to improve road conditions in the area.
"And based on discussions that I have had with TPDCo (Tourism Product Development Company) and the Ministry of Tourism, I have been assured that the Roaring River Park will be up and running soon. This will bring back some life in the community," he explained.
Yesterday, Julia Gordon, the National Water Commission community relations officer for the western region, apologised for what she described as the inconsistency in the supply of water in the Roaring River area.
She said plans are afoot to provide a reliable supply of the precious commodity to the residents.
"While the Roaring River, which is the source that supplies that community with water, does not lack the capacity to adequately and consistently meet the demands for that community, the pipelines in the area are very old and cannot withstand any great pressure of water. In addition, a tank that would normally be used to ease the problem and maximise the volume of water that is being distributed to that area was recently decommissioned due to its severe state of deterioration," Gordon said.
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