Stony Hill not 'independent' of water troubles

August 03, 2017
Gareth Davis Sr A youngster from the Stony Hill community catching water from a standpipe at Halls Avenue some three miles away.
Gareth Davis Sr Water tanks, like the ones on this house, are commonly used to store rain water in Stony Hill.

Residents at Stony Hill in Portland, who have never had the luxury of piped water in that community, are seriously questioning Jamaica's acquisition of independence, as they continue to depend on the elements for the scarce commodity.

As the name suggests, Stony Hill is famous for its large population of rocks that are located on just about every piece of earth with its hilly interior and lush vegetation.

But despite the picturesque beauty, residents are plagued by the absence of the government's self-styled National Water Commission (NWC) pipelines- forcing them to depend heavily on rainfall or to purchase the scarce commodity.

"We have never had piped water in this community", said Everton Paul a resident at Stony Hill. "I've been living here for 43 years and we have never had portable water. For me it is a national disgrace, as true independence would allow for us to at least enjoy the luxury of having water in our homes, instead of experiencing the struggles endured by our fore parents."

According to Paul, his belief of independence would be that the struggles endured by those who fought for freedom and deliverance, should pave the way for a much improved living condition, which would see the people enjoying some of the social benefits and basic amenities.

travel longer distances

On just about any given day, residents can be seen traversing the rugged terrain on foot with various containers in search of water for their domestic use.

Their plights are compounded by the current dry season, which forces them to travel longer distances, up to four miles, to get water.

And with a population of approximately 2,500 residents, including those living at the newly established sub-division known as Norwich Heights, the demand for potable water is at its highest for Stony Hill residents.

They continue to carry water on their backs like donkeys, as it was decades ago, with no sign of any likely change for years to come.

"I have to wake up early in the morning to carry water from a spring known as 'Ransa', which is almost a mile away from my house," said a student, who gave his name as Jermaine Douglas.

Douglas added: "Now that I will be attending high school in September, it is going to be difficult as oftentimes I have to carry water in the afternoon. And with homework to do, it is really going to be challenging for me. I am hoping that very soon we will get piped water at home. My wish for this independence or for next year, would be to be able to get water at my house."

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