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Eleuthera residents frustrated over poor water supply service

George Major, a resident of Tarpum Bay, Eleuthera, said yesterday that not having consistent access to clean and running water is “humiliating”.

On Sunday, the Water and Sewerage Corporation (WSC) said that it experienced “severe challenges” in the production, storage and distribution of safe potable water in Central Eleuthera. The island has been plagued with inconsistent water supply all year.

“About five or six years ago, the water pressure was good and we were getting water consistently,” Major told The Nassau Guardian.

“But over the last two or three years, it’s been inconsistent.

“It’s unfair to the paying consumer. It’s disruptive to your health. Sometimes, there’s no water to bathe in the morning when you get up, no water to flush the toilets. So, it’s humiliating, really. It’s a problem.”

Major, who lives alone and has trouble with mobility, said the government does not care about its citizens.

“I don’t think we take care of our citizens enough,” he said.

“We make them second-class.

“In Eleuthera, we don’t get the benefit of the dollars being spent. So, it’s very unfair. I don’t think our leaders truly respect us. They easily throw out soundbites and go their way.

“I think the government should try their best to make the utilities as productive and as effective as the utilities they experience in other international cities. They’re selling The Bahamas as a tourist product, but if they’re not taking care of us at home, then what product can they sell to tourists?”

Last week, Minister of Works Alfred Sears said WSC is working “very aggressively” to address supply issues on the island, and apologized to the residents, noting that the matter “is of deep concern”.

Sears also said that the corporation ordered two storage tanks that have a capacity of one million imperial gallons each and that they will be available by mid-2023. 

However, one resident of Palmetto Point, in Central Eleuthera, who wished to remain anonymous, noted that the government has not offered a short-term solution and described how the shortage has affected her and her family.

“We lost water in the early morning on November 25,” she said.

“After several days, we got a bit of water back but maybe only for an hour or two. This went on for days.

“Then, nothing again for a couple of days. Finally, we got decent water pressure returned but it smells horrible and is salty.

“We haven’t had a shower for days, haven’t been able to do the laundry. It’s hard to do outside chores or activities when you don’t know if you can shower afterwards. Some days, we had water when we first woke up, but it was salty and tasted awful, then it stopped suddenly with no notice from WSC.”

She noted that residents have had no updates from WSC. 

“Many have cisterns that are topped up by city water, but now their cisterns are contaminated with salt water,” she explained.

In North Eleuthera, one Gregory Town resident, who wished to remain anonymous, said something needs to be done “ASAP”.

“It’s sickening,” she said.

“Now that we finally getting water, it dead salty. Our kids had to miss school because of this. That’s not a good thing. 

“I work in the tourism industry and guests are always complaining.”

Other Gregory Town residents also complained of the water being too salty to bathe with, drink or use for any daily activity or chore, with one resident noting that the water just cleared up on Monday.

Central and South Eleuthera MP Clay Sweeting said yesterday that the situation is “totally unacceptable and extremely frustrating”.

“This afternoon, I will attend a meeting with the Ministry of Works, Water and Sewerage, and Aqua Design, the company contracted by the government of The Bahamas to supply water to Central Eleuthera and other islands,” said Sweeting.

“The management team at Aqua Design must act with great urgency in addressing this longstanding issue, which the residents of Eleuthera have faced for far too long. There is no justification that any company can give that it is acceptable for residents not to have access to water for approximately seven days.

“I have been candid in expressing my disappointment to both the minister of works and the chairman of the Water and Sewerage Corporation. The residents of Eleuthera deserve better.”