Thu | Aug 13, 2020

Water woes wash Rose Town residents

Published:Tuesday | July 21, 2020 | 12:08 AMJason Cross/Gleaner Writer
An elderly George Dunn sits patiently on his handcart as he waits for his buckets to be filled with water from a neighbour’s house in the community of Rose Town on Monday. This is a daily routine for residents of Rose Town and its environs as water short
An elderly George Dunn sits patiently on his handcart as he waits for his buckets to be filled with water from a neighbour’s house in the community of Rose Town on Monday. This is a daily routine for residents of Rose Town and its environs as water shortages persist in many of Kingston’s inner cities.

Residents of Rose Town have lamented persistent water shortages in the gritty Kingston community as unbearable, a plight that is set to worsen with the state-owned distributor turning off spigots amid deepening concerns over seven months of drought.

There were telltale signs of a neighbourhood thirsty for relief as residents loaded makeshift carts with bottles, pans and barrels to catch water at one of three major standpipes.

“We stress out. A whole heap a drum we haffi full,” a woman told The Gleaner.

A passing cab driver stopped to confirm that he, too, suffered from dry pipes. He said residents from as far as Whitfield Town travelled there in search for water.

“A suh di whole community stay. ... A months now nuh water nuh come inna my pipe,” the taxi man said.

“... A pure splash up mi haffi do and bathe inna bath pan.”

Neither resident offered to disclose their identity.

The refrain of pain was much the same for an elderly George Dunn, who groaned as he loaded a cart with numerous containers.

“Sometimes mi waist kill me when me push so much water pon cart every day,” Dunn said.

The National Water Commission (NWC) announced on Sunday that its customers who are fed by the Mona Treatment Plant would experience low pressure or no supply at all for up to 12 hours per day.

Up to July 16, the Mona Reservoir held 40 per cent of capacity, while the smaller Hermitage Dam was at 31.5 per cent.

Rose Town falls within the St Andrew Southern constituency, whose member of parliament is Mark Golding.

He told The Gleaner on Monday evening that residents have never complained to him directly about their water woes and pledged to investigate the matter further.

Golding said that an overhaul of sewerage and water mains under a Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF) project has been completed and that residents would have to enter into contracts with the NWC to tap into the network.

“Rose Town just had a new water project that JSIF has finished. Although the physical arrangements are done, the connections are not yet sorted out,” he said.

Golding said that water shortages haunted several other sections of his constituency, including Jones Town.

“We have been arranging the trucking of water with the $500,000 allocation made to members of parliament,” said Golding, adding that close to 10,000 people resided in that community.

“That is why I hope NWC has some mercy and will give them some water on a regular basis.”

When The Gleaner visited sections of Jones Town on Monday, one woman said that she is forced to pay up to $3,000 for a cartman to transport three barrels of water to her home from a standpipe residents rush to use daily.

Late-arriving residents are sometimes allowed by the security forces to catch water at a standpipe even outside the 11 p.m. curfew before returning home.

“It really hectic. A way dung di road we affi go more while,” said the woman, requesting anonymity.”

Jason.cross@gleanerjm.com