A hole in the ground that constantly springs has been a saviour for some residents of Majesty Gardens [aka Back-To] in Kingston 11, who say that there is a chronic water problem in the community.
This spring, the source of which has not been explained, is commonly referred to as ‘water hole’. Located just a few footsteps away from a garbage-filled gully, the hole, which the residents call a well, has been the source of water for washing and bathing. Some residents said they have used the water to cook their meals.
On Wednesday, when many Jamaicans were in a state of panic due to the fact that their pipes were dry as a result of strike action by workers of the National Water Commission (NWC), Nadia Williams made her usual trek to the ‘water hole’ to get water. At first glance, the catchment appears to be nothing more than a half of a plastic drum that has been placed in the hole next to the gully. However, on closer inspection, one will realise that the drum serves as a basin for water that is springing from the ground.
“If dah likkle well here ever dry up, mi don’t know how we a guh manage. This is the main water supply for this part of the community. Sometimes a water truck will come, but is not a regular thing,” said Jody Reid, who was doing her laundry near to the ‘well’ while her children play on the gully bank.
While these Majesty Gardens residents depend on the water for domestic use, they do not drink it.
“We brush we teeth, bathe, wash and cook with it. We throw likkle bleach and boil the water before we use it cook,” said Williams, who, along with three other females, placed empty containers on a handcart and headed for a nearby community in search of drinking water.
“Is everyday summen dis,” she told THE WEEKEND STAR. On a Sunday, round here ram because everybody come fi wash. A bare mosquito round here when it touch evening, suh we have to walk with wi destroyer a night time when we a come bathe,” Williams said.
Majesty Gardens falls in the political constituency of St Andrew South West, which is represented by the People’s National Party’s Angela Brown Burke. Residents said that water woes have been a long-standing problem in the community, and that it has worsened since the NWC began a massive pipe-laying project along Spanish Town Road.
One resident said that persons on the outside may turn up their nose at the fact that they have to rely on ‘water hole’, but they will not run from their realities.
“Everyone feel it round here where water concern,” one woman said.
“A lot of people will come and talk about it … A eight day now nuh water not coming in the pipes a Back-To, and we have to go all bout di place go get it, and is not everywhere safe. For people who don’t usually get water in dem pipe, a pon di gully bank dem go a day time. Some people may say it is nasty, but is under the ground the water a come from and we have to survive,” the woman said.