Mark Titus, Gleaner Writer
Residents of Wait-A-Bit in south Trelawny say they have been waiting for a long time to see water in their pipelines and are hoping that their misery will end soon.
"We have had to be depending on trucked water, and that can be very costly," said 73-year-old resident Harris Rowe. "We have a dam and a working pump, but the pipe through which the water is to be gravity-fed into the area needs to be replaced.
"It is hard to understand why water can be provided for other communities, but we have to be suffering like this," said Rowe in reference to the fact the area is being served by private operators, who charge the residents for the trucked water.
There are 33 communities in south Trelawny and five major rivers - Black River, Great River, Montego River, Cabarita River and the Martha Brae River - that are fed from the aquifers under the Cockpit Country. The Trelawny Parish Council is responsible for supplying 16 communities, and the National Water Commission five. Twelve are dependent on rainfall.
Paul Patmore, the councillor for the Lorrimers division, which includes Wait-a-Bit, said immediate action is required to address the problem.
"There is no running water into the homes here, and it is time the talking ends and serious action is taken," he said.
Patmore, who was elected as an independent candidate, told Western Focus that a spring was discovered in a 2,500-foot hill in the area, and the water was being piped from there. In addition, he said a truck was also purchased through a fund-raising initiative and was now being used to supply water to homes on a daily basis.
CONCERNED ABOUT SOURCE
However, while commending Patmore for his initiative, Marisa Dalrymple-Philibert, the member of parliament for South Trelawny, said she had concerns with regard to the supply of water going to residents.
"All of that is very good, but my concern is that water supplied to our people must come from a good source," she said. "... it is incumbent on the Government to ensure that this happens.
"It is not only Wait-a-Bit that is suffering … . It is a problem throughout South Trelawny," Dalrymple-Philibert continued. "I have also confirmed that the parish council has received funding to truck water to these areas, but what we really need is the proper implementation of the water system for south Trelawny."
According to a draft document titled 'National Water Commission (NWC) Trelawny Parish Plan', which was published by the NWC, "the Government produces approximately 3,891 million gallons (17,699 million cubic metres) of water per year in Trelawny through seven wells and nine surface sources".
The parishes of St Elizabeth, Hanover, St James, and Westmoreland, all derive their water supply from this source.
A source at the NWC told Western Focus that only the communities of Ulster Spring, Spring Garden, Rock Spring, and Troy in the constituency have water piped to their homes; however, the design work for plans to construct a new water system to serve some of the other communities in south Trelawny are now complete, which means other communities will come on stream.