RESIDENTS of Port Royal are chiding the National Water Commission (NWC) for inadequate and inconsistent supply of water that they say has impeded them carrying out their daily activities.
When Jamaica Observer visited the historic community last Wednesday to get feedback on the docking of the Marella Disc
overy II vessel, residents refused to comment on the cruise ship, preferring instead to vent their ire about the lack of water. They, however, refused to identify themselves by name when interviewed.
“From last month we have water crisis over here,” one resident of Cagway Road in Port Royal revealed. “Up to Sunday [November 20] gone di wata weh me buy fi drink, me haffi use and cook my food.”
When asked how often there are water lockoffs in the community, she said it occurs three times each day of the week. The resident added that the service is sometimes lock off about 10 each morning and restored at 3:00 pm, but by 6:00 pm water goes againuntil the following day.
She said that a friend of hers had made inquiries at a nearby pumping station and “the supervisor” told her that a pipe had burst. However, he could not provide a timeline for the completion of the repairs.
“Today is the first water don’t gone, an’ a because cruise ship deh yah,” the resident protested.
Another resident in the vicinity of Cagway Road told the Observer that the NWC has been working on the water situation for the last four months, during which residents only get water in their homes for four hours each day.
“Today di pipe dem a buss,” she said, describing the heavier-than-usual water pressure that she had not seen in a while.
During low-pressure periods, however, she said working residents and schoolchildren have to use buckets of water to bathe. Others, she explained, have tanks or buy water to wash, cook and bathe.
When she called NWC’s customer service line to report the water shortage she said the utility company’s representatives informed her they were unaware of the challenges facing the residents of Port Royal.
“When we call dem, dem seh dem don’t know of the locking off and when we get the bill is the same money we haffi pay,” lamented the obviously upset resident.
“Especially Friday, di wata lock off from mawning till 8:00 and 9:00 inna di night,” she said, expressisng her belief, too, that the restoration of water to the community was on account of the cruise ship’s arrival.
Her daughter, who operates a shop and a restaurant across the road, was livid that the NWC did not inform the community of plans to repair a damaged pipe. However, she expressed a willingness to “work wid dem [NWC]” until the service is fully restored.
But after some four weeks of repairs the businesswoman said she is growing impatient because after the installation of the pump house the residents have not received any update on pipe repairs. She also complained of the low water pressure damaging her washing machine.
Calling the NWC, an elderly gentleman added, has been futile since customer service residents only give them the runaround.
“So we waan know if is Cuba we live inna weh dem haffi put our ting ‘pon a timer’,” the restaurant owner stated.
On reaching out to NWC Corporate Public Relations Manager Andrew Canon about the residents’ concerns, he disclosed that he was not aware of water disruptions in Port Royal. He promised to provide a timely and appropriate response but, up to Monday, when contacted again he said he was still awaiting information.
— Josimar Scott