Water woes hits Benbow district - Residents find ways to cope

October 18, 2016
There is no light bulb on this utility pole in Benbow district.
Christine Wright points out how low the utility wires are in the district.
Resident Wilbur Harrison drinks from a bamboo placed in a spring to catch water.

Lack of running water in parts of Jamaica is not a new phenomenon and members of the affected communities oftentimes devise means of dealing with their shortfall.

The situation is no different for the residents of Benbow in Spring Farm, near Guys Hill, St Catherine. These citizens have to trod carefully down a hillside to catch water from a trickling spring - that is the only way they acquire this vital commodity.

A STAR news team visited the community last Wednesday, when residents gave us a first-hand experience of the treacherous hill they have to ascend and descend on a daily basis to catch drinking water. "Mi nuh go down there. I ask mi brother dem to catch the water for me. A years mi nuh go down there," said Christine Wright, a resident. "Like how we have rain now, some people use rainwater, suh it nuh bad now."

The residents stick a piece bamboo at the source of the spring to make catching the water easier.

According to another resident, Wilbur Harrison, most of the residents have pipes running through their homes but do not get running water because of serious leakage on the main pipe line. "The pipe dem burst up underneath the ground because the pipe them there years ago. These things burst often, and the man dem will come and use plastic fix metal pipe. All we need is for them to replace the metal pipes," Harrison said.

Attempts to contact the National Water Commission have so far proven futile.

The deep rural St Catherine residents have also been without electricity since hurricane Matthew threatened the island. "From the storm blow and the post slide way the light have been on and off ... yuh know say the earth get soft, so di post dem shift. So dem (JPS) come and reset them, then the next day light gone. Yesterday (Tuesday) dem come and by the next day it gone again. Every time yuh haffi call dem. If dem did just fix the post (the right way), everything would be alright, enuh," Wright said.

Wright pointed to a light pole that perched on a hillside. "Dem need fi just move the post and fix it properly. Otherwise, when a big truck pass and touch the wire, we are going to have the same thing," Wright said.

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