Letter of the Day | Water crisis in Belvedere, Red Hills
THE EDITOR, Sir:
I am a resident of upper Belvedere, Red Hills in St Andrew, and I am writing about the worsening water problems, which are creating a major crisis in the community.
The water supply has, for decades, been intermittent for many in our community, with water supplied for only hours per week rather than 24/7, as it should be, and most of us, or at least those who can afford to, have set up tanks and water pumps to remedy the problem.
In recent weeks, however, even that problematic standard is no longer met and many households, my own included, have not received any water in the pipe for more than two weeks now. The community is on edge and people are literally begging each other for water.
While my water bills are fully paid, I have had to resort to buying water privately, at a much higher cost than National Water Commission (NWC) and over and above my NWC bill – this, too, is something many in the community cannot afford and even for those who can, it is not sustainable.
Numerous calls have been made to the NWC, at which various explanations have been given, including that there is no problem at all, and various unmet promises that an NWC water truck will be sent, but we have heard from other sources that the problem is that water is being diverted to Duhaney Park because of the most recent water main break on the Boulevard/Mandela corridor, and that this may take months to be remedied.
While I am well aware that water problems are experienced throughout the island, it is inconceivable that the Duhaney Park problem would be addressed by depriving an already woefully under-served community of the limited water service it normally gets. Surely there must be a better solution.
Part of the problem is that the water infrastructure in the Red Hills area is poorly maintained and inadequate for what is one of the most rapidly growing residential communities in the Corporate Area. The constant and sometimes quite spectacular water leaks on Belvedere Road, and the many craters dug by NWC to patch broken pipes, which are only rarely re-covered with asphalt and add to the devastation of our road network, are testimony to how our community water supply system has become totally obsolete.
The urgent intervention of NWC is needed to ensure that all customers in our community get at least a reasonable approximation of the water supply they are paying for, even if this means having water in the pipe for only part of the week.
The water crisis is part of a much bigger community infrastructure problem with poorly maintained roads and unreliable electricity, cable, internet, landline and mobile phone service. The Red Hills community deserves much better, and needs better if it is to be a socially stable and livable community, and our MPs and councilors, and the relevant utility providers should ensure that these problems are adequately resolved, with long-term, sustainable solutions. Such an intervention is now long overdue.
Cyprus Drive, Belvedere, Red Hills.