By RASHAD ROLLE
Tribune Staff Reporter
DISRUPTIONS to their water supply has left many residents of Eleuthera angry and miserable as they struggle to obtain water to carry out such basic tasks as bathing and flushing toilets.
The problem, The Tribune understands,is that the island’s water plant is in a poor state of maintenance, creating constant problems that need to be fixed.
Disruptions to the water supply has been a recurring problem for much of the past year, with the most significant period of disruption lasting for the past two weeks as residents of Central Eleuthera find themselves visiting water pumps and outside wells to get water.
Gina Wallace, a resident of the area, told The Tribune yesterday: “My biggest concern is not only do I have a restaurant, but I have a nine-year-old daughter.
“She has been out of school probably every two weeks because the water is not on. She’s missed a tremendous amount of school days that have not been made up. I’m talking about months’ worth of school.
“The school would just call you in the middle of the day and say ‘school is going to end early because there is no water.’ “One time there was three to four consecutive days when she was home.”
According to Central Eleuthera MP Damian Gomez, the problem is that the island’s water plant has not been well maintained.
“Water and Sewerage entered into an exclusive agreement with General Electric Corporation (GE) and GE is responsible for maintenance of material,” he said.
“What has happened is that over the last 30 years, we’ve had no maintenance at all, so parts of the plant are breaking down with a level of frequency that is not only alarming but paralytic.”
Mr Gomez and residents described the problem yesterday as “horrific” because it has severely impacted business on the island as well as their way of life.
“You fix one problem today and tomorrow another problem surfaces,” Mr Gomez said. “Water and Sewerage is getting the bad rap for it but it really isn’t their fault. The reality is we got to get out of the agreement with GE. I am imploring the chairman of Water & Sewerage to take all steps to get out of the agreement, even if only to renegotiate it again. This is a serious, serious problem. Eleuthera reels from water shortage to water shortage.”
Water tanks at the island’s water plant, Mr Gomez said, are unable to properly store water.
However, he added that by Christmas the “full complement of tanks” should be up and running.
“That’s five tanks at the naval base,” he said.
Meanwhile, residents expressed fury at what they believe is the government’s incapacity to address the problem.
One man said he can’t run his business because of the issue.
“Hygiene is important in the kitchen,” he said. “It’s also a big concern for people and I have young ladies who live with me and it’s a big problem. Politicians are well paid in this country. We hire people and put governments in place to run our business efficiently and effectively. So what are they doing with our taxes? Who is running our government? I question the honesty and integrity of these administrations, both past and present.”
Residents have been obtaining water from nearby wells and public water pumps.
“My daughter is walking in the house with gallons of water to flush the toilet right now,” Wendy Wallace told The Tribune yesterday.
“You know what it is when a woman can’t bathe or even wash their hands after using the bathroom? You have to make sure you get a little bit of water here and there, getting water from pumps on the side of the road and from the wells people have in their yard. Otherwise, you’re doomed.”