Broken pipes and muddy water - Cane River residents still feeling effects of heavy rains

September 21, 2020
Cane River resident Dionne Lewis has been struggling to get water to do basic tasks such as laundry.
Cane River resident Dionne Lewis has been struggling to get water to do basic tasks such as laundry.
Clovis Wilkinson describes the current situation as ‘a struggle’.
Clovis Wilkinson describes the current situation as ‘a struggle’.

Lots of rain, but no water - this has been a huge problem for residents of Cane River in rural St Andrew, since Jamaica has been getting heavy rainfall due to an active Atlantic hurricane season. When this happens, the residents usually turn to Cane River for water to use in cooking, cleaning and even bathing. But that is now next to impossible, as the fresh river water they are accustomed to is now mostly rancid and muddy.

Dionne Lewis, a resident of Cane River, told THE STAR that water pipes within the community were broken during heavy rains some weeks ago. Since then, they have had no running water.

"Every time rainfall we pipe dem buss up. We affi to travel to Cane River every week to wash and rinse. Sometimes it takes a little time at the river because other people are there washing too. Sometimes we affi wait up to 30 minutes on the road with our buckets to get taxi to go up to the river. We have to sit and wait! We cannot walk go up to the river because the distance is too long," she said.

And such a long wait feels like it's done in vain when she arrives and sees that the river has been overtaken by dirty water.

"Since the rain start, we don't have any water and it don't look like we will get back any for now. Even worse, the river water is dirty and muddy. People come up here to wash, and the water dirty... only a little section we see where the water is clear and everybody can't use it. It's not flushy... we need water!" Lewis added.

Buy drinking water

"I have to buy drinking water. Within a week that done. It is expensive! We have to go to Cane River to bathe as well."

Clovis Williamson, another resident, left his home and headed to Cane River early Friday morning to wash some of his clothes. He says this is a regular thing for him.

"We a struggle. It very difficult fi a do this. We affi a come this far just fi rinse likkle clothes a week time. It hard fi a do this every week. It woulda much better and comforting if me did have water ina me house. Virus a go round and when you woulda just prefer fi stay home, you have to be out ... whether going to the river fi bathe, wash or full water," Williamson related.

Another man showed up to the river with four water bottles, hoping to find clean water from the river to fill them.

"All a the pipe dem buss up. I have been coming here years now to full drinking water and the river never look like this yet," he said.

"I have to come up here to get drinking water. I have to try and find a little spot weh di water clean. I don't have a choice ... that's why me nuh vote fi nobody. A years me nuh have water ina pipe."

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