Fri | Sep 21, 2018

NWC - an agency gone wild

Published:Thursday | September 18, 2014 | 12:00 AM


The recent decision of the principal of the Irwin High School to close the school for lack of water drew media attention. The principal cited his concern for the health of the children and sanitation as the primary reasons for the closure and pointed out that the school has only one day's storage of water. The Irwin Primary School was also closed for the same reasons. In all, more than 1,000 children missed a day in school, which will impact their education. What the media did not report is that the schools have been dealing with this problem for too long.

The National Water Commission (NWC) pointed out that they had a problem with the pumping station which impacted the piping of water. What the NWC did not say is that they have had a problem with this pumping station for at least seven years. What the NWC did not say is that the piping of water is regularly and routinely impacted by this malfunctioning pumping station. What the NWC did not say is that they have no plans to permanently fix the problem. What the agency did not say is that someone is making money on these frequent repairs. What the NWC did not say is that it does not care about providing the required service. The NWC is quite satisfied to give the residents of this area frequent water interruptions followed by over-chlorinated water when service is resumed. People have become concerned for their health because of the routinely poor service that the NWC provides.

Of course, the problem is not just in this one community in St James. The problem with NWC is everywhere. It is not a lack of funds that causes this poor service. The root cause is a corporate culture that does not incorporate service. It is also mismanagement and an agency gone wild. The NWC has never heard of the word service. For example, we reported a broken meter four months ago via email, by telephone, and to our meter reader. The meter has not been replaced/repaired. Instead, the NWC has chosen to estimate our water usage and has doubled our average monthly consumption. What are we to do with an agency gone wild? Is it not time that we consider privatising the National Water Commission? Anybody can do better.