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Eleuthera anger at water problem


AFTER nearly a week without running water, residents of Central Eleuthera are disgruntled with the continued disruption of water supply on the island.

Residents on the island, particularly in Central Eleuthera, have been plagued with water supply disruptions several times this year.

A Savannah Sound, Eleuthera resident, who wishes to remain anonymous, said that she is not confident in the government’s ability to rectify the matter, adding that not having access to the basic necessity of water is “embarrassing”.

With this dilemma being an issue for “many years”, she regrets her decision not to build a well.

“The water issue has always affected me. It impacts the ability to do regular everyday things – household chores, washing, taking a good bath or shower,” she said.

“This has been an ongoing issue for as long as I can remember. This shouldn’t even be an issue in (2022). It’s very embarrassing, especially when family comes to visit and water is either off or water pressure is low,” she said.

Another Central Eleuthera resident, who also asked not to be named, described the conditions on the island as “horrible”, noting that she has had to improvise.

“I am unable to bathe as I normally do,” she said. “Unable to cook; my clothes have piled up; I am unable to clean or sanitise properly. Children are unable to go to school; my toilet is unable to flush — it’s horrible, man.

“Sometimes I am literally out of water, like bottles I have saved with water,” she told this newspaper yesterday.

“Therefore, I am forced to buy good drinking water from the store just to bathe.”

She also said that as of late November into December the water pressure is “extremely” low and salty.

Sharing similar sentiments was a second-homeowner of South Palmetto Point, Eleuthera, who said the water smelled “terrible” and was salty.

This resident, who requested that her name not be printed, said: “Gardens that I’ve just planted started dying even when I had water, due to the salt content.

“Used a lot of paper plates since I couldn’t even wash dishes for days. Buying lots more bottled water. I don’t know how businesses and schools are getting by.”

Melissa Bethel, who was born and raised on the island, but currently resides in New Providence, said the water supply has been inconsistent for as long as she can remember.

“I’m 35, left home at 16 after graduating and water has been an issue all my life. Even when I go to visit to this day,” said the 35-year-old.

“Water comes and goes. It’s off for days consistently. Residents have to catch it while it is on to get things completed. The current situation has been like this for a long while,” she continued.

Yesterday, Works and Utilities Minister Alfred Sears told reporters at Parliament that the water has been restored on the island, noting that he shared similar sentiments as Central and South Eleuthera MP Clay Sweeting.

He said: “I share Minister Clay Sweeting’s concerns and that’s why we had a very productive meeting with the operator of the desalination plant yesterday. Minister Sweeting was part of that meeting and we have agreed on a way forward to solve the problem.”

Mr Sears noted that officials have identified the “vulnerabilities”, adding that measures to eliminate them will be implemented.

On Tuesday, Mr Sweeting said those affected “deserve better”, adding that the disruption in water supply is an “extreme” hazard to both health and safety of residents of the island.

“I have been candid in expressing my disappointment to both the Minister of Works (Alfred Sears) and the Chairman of the Water and Sewerage Corporation (Sylvanus Petty). The residents of Eleuthera deserve better. No access to water is far more than an inconvenience. It is an extreme hazard to both health and safety,” he had said.

The Water and Sewerage Corporation is scheduled to have a press conference on the island about the issue today.