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Frustrated residents slam NWC over water woes

BY KASEY WILLIAMS
Observer staff reporter
kaseyw@jamaicaobserver.com

Wednesday, May 12, 2021

PALMER'S CROSS, Clarendon — Residents of Kennedy Grove housing scheme here are frustrated about inconsistent water supply that, they say, has been affecting their hygiene and sanitation efforts, compounded by poor communication from the National Water Commission (NWC).

“Currently we do not have any water. I have been living here for five years now; usually we would get water three times per week,” said a resident who asked not to be identified.

She told the Jamaica Observer by phone on Monday that since March her community has been experiencing water supply issues.

“We are active NWC customers, but we would only get water on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays. In March there was a message from NWC that a pump was out and so we didn't get any water for two weeks. It then came back [for a short time],” she said.

“Now we are noticing that when it comes it doesn't stay for long and there is no pressure,” she added.

The woman said her frustration grew when her attempts to get answers from the NWC were unsuccessful.

“I contacted NWC by both online chat and their local office, but all I got were reference numbers, because when I told them I had gotten one reference number already, they still gave me another one. Nothing has changed,” she said.

Efforts by the Observer to get a comment from the NWC were unsuccessful as calls and messages to its communications personnel went unanswered.

Meanwhile, the resident alleged that ganja farmers were hijacking the water supply in the area.

“There is an [allegation] that people are cultivating marijuana and so they cut the main line to divert water to their fields,” she said.

She is also questioning the distribution of the precious commodity in adjoining areas.

“Close to our community there is an area where people just go there to get water. I have passed other communities where people are watering grass and we don't have any water to even bathe. I have to go to my mother's house to shower,” she stressed.

Another resident shared similar sentiments about the inconsistent water supply.

“On the scheme there are households that have never received water at all. We noticed that they [NWC] said the pump got burnt up and we received trucked water. However, after they said it was repaired, we are still not getting any water,” she said.

“When it does come, it doesn't even stay for 15 minutes and the pressure is very low,” she added.

The frustrated resident, who is a teacher, complained about the inconvenience of not being able to do her laundry at home.

“I have to be taking my dirty clothes to my mother in another community to have them washed. It is rough, and I'm still getting a bill to pay for even more than what I used to pay when I got water. It has increased by $500,” she said.

“I don't have time to go waste in NWC's office to spend the entire day because I am a teacher; I have online classes to do. When you go there is the whole day and it is unfair for us to be paying our bills and not getting any service,” she added.