Making money from dry pipes - Residents find income amid water crisis

June 07, 2017
Kenneth Steele transporting bottles of water to members of the community.
Residents say they have to pay in order to get water as the pipes in their community are dry.
Kenneth Steele (right) and Marion Leslie make a living from carrying water to needy residents.

The constant water crisis, according to Kidd Lane residents, a community located along Spanish Town Road, dates back to five years ago.

However, it has created a source of income for residents who shuttle water for survival.

THE STAR understands that the yard where residents go to catch water is located in what is described as a 'target yard', because warring factions usually pounce on each other there.

The outcome, however, is that it falls on the shoulders of people like Marion Leslie, 41, and Kenneth George Steele, 58, who are essential for the provision of water to residents.

Residents pay them to get to the source of running water. The water carriers at times engage gun-toting gangsters on the other side of the community.

Carts are rented to transport the water in drums, buckets and barrels.

A man, the residents call Billy, from nearby Steven Lane, rents carts and bottles to Leslie and Steele.

Leslie told THE STAR that she has seven children, six of which attend school, plus she also cares for a nephew. Her youngest child is seven years old.

Transporting water is what pays her bills, puts food on the table and covers her $7,000 a week partner.

She said, “As 7 o'clock from them gone a school, me just push out. A Billy cart ya me rent $300 a day. A this help me put on a kitchen cause me nuh have no other source [of income]. Couple years well now me a do this cause on a normal basis water nuh too dung di road enuh.”

THE STAR was told that water used to be trucked to the area, and whenever the faithful pipe there goes dry, Leslie would venture to other communities far and wide to get water.

“Mi go as far as Whitfield. One a the time dem me go all a pumping station go catch water. Is $50 fi one bottle and $500 fi the dozen,” she said. 

Meanwhile, Steele said he has been filling containers with water for about seven years.

"My duty still is fi full water fi the community. Mi get up all 8 o'clock, but mi get a ticket fi start full bout 10 o'clock and mi nuh stop til all 9 o'clock [in the night],” he said. “My rate is a little $300 still fi full one drum. Mi gi dem a wholesale price still. A nuh nothing.”

When asked about the toll on his body, he said, “No man, me all right still.”

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