Residents pay for Alpart free water
The opening ceremony for the restart of bauxite production at Alpart in Nain, St Elizabeth, was held yesterday, and residents who have been struggling with water issues for more than 20 years are hoping for an end to their plight.
According to the residents, who spoke to our news team recently, they are hoping that the resumption of activities following the eight-year alumina plant will eventually lead to them having running water.
At present, the surrounding communities rely heavily on the water from the plant that is trucked to them at a cost.
Nain resident, Sandra Miller, told THE STAR that "We have to buy water. They (truckers) go down Alpart, and they turn on the pipe for them three times per week. And starting from like 8 a.m. to like 1 o'clock in the day, they turn on the water for them and that's it. If I order water like today, I won't get it probably until next week or the week after sometimes. The list is so long that whenever you call, there are people ahead of you."
When asked by our news team how much she has to pay for water, Miller said she pays $2,500.
"I have like a 650 gallon drum there and I got that full and another 40 gallon. That's from the little truck. But for like the big truck, that is $6,000. We have to wait and beg for them to squeeze us in. We suffer with water," she said.
Her son, Akeem, also told THE STAR that Alpart supplies the free water as a gesture.
"Alpart used to give back to the community. You know they mine out most of the community. They reserve the right to lock off at a certain time. It's their water, and actually it's for the plant purpose. The agreement to actually give water back to the community was with the Russians. My question now is like how it is a new administration with the Chinese, I don't know if the same thing apply," he said.
Any lock-off in this context can be detrimental to the community, as the truckers will only have so much and no more to sell until they are dry.
"Alpart is not our Government. It's out of their good heart that they do give us water. The Government is to supply us with water. If you do order it from the truckers, all a week before we get it. They get it for free and we have to buy it. The further up they go with the water, up south, the more it costs," Miller said.