Black water tanks not the solution to Jamaica’s water crisis. West Kingston citizens ignored
Prime Minister Andrew Holness has announced today he is committed 50,000 water tanks to be distribute across Jamaica. He said, three thousand, 400-gallon tanks will be distributed to some of the most affected areas as part of the pilot programme in East & West Rural St Andrew, East and West St Thomas, East and West Portland, South East St Mary, Central St Mary, Western St. Mary, The southern belt of St Ann including South East and South West St Ann, The hilly northern belt of Clarendon, including Northern, North Central, and North West Clarendon.
According to the Jamaica Information Service, Andrew Holness will distribute of 3,000 black tanks, each with a capacity of 400 gallons, for rainwater harvesting in drought-affected constituencies, which will begin next week. The initiative is part of the Rural Water Household Resilience program, funded with a $60 million grant from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).
The Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, in collaboration with Rural Water Supply Limited, will contribute $250 million to support the coordination and installation of the water harvesting systems and tanks.
The Prime Minister, have failed, however to address the long standing water crisis in West Kingston. Despite the whole of Jamaica are suffering from the devastating impact of poor and Inadequate Infrastructure development by the governments of Jamaica, West Kingston seem to be off the radar when it comes to water supply.
Both the Jamaica Labour Party and the People’s National Party have seem to ignore the issue of infrastructure development when it comes to water and both parties have strong political representation in both Trench Town, Denham Town and the West Kingston region. Nevertheless, the Andrew Holness government have engaged in massive infrastructure projects across the Island with little emphasis on the water crisis. Many of the pipes and treatment facilities in Jamaica are outdated or in poor condition. This often leads to water loss and frequent water shortages across the Island.
Therefore, this black tanks are no enough and in many regards a band aid to a very complex and detrimental crisis.
On September 8, 2023, Radio Jamaica have interview residents in West Kingston who are decrying the inadequate water supply plaguing their community for the last eight months.
However, Jamaica Live have spoken to people in West Kingston and we were told that some communities have no water running in their pipes for almost a decade. This problem also exist in the Two Miles are of Kingston 13.
Some residents in the Trench Town vicinity say the water supply from private and public trucks have been heavily rationed across households.
Speaking with Radio Jamaica News on Thursday, Claudia Clayton, a resident of Trench Town, said they are charged by the National Water Commission for water trucked to the community.
The residents say it costs as much $7,000 to fill a 1,000 gallon tank.
“And it nuh stay long ’cause remember you have neighbour and eh whole a dem nuh have nuh drum neida, suh yuh haffi gi dem likkle a your water, you understand me. And at the same time, you still have to tek your money a pay back fi full it again. And a long, long time, anuh now…so we waan know a how long dis aguh keep up for,” the woman lamented.Radio Jamaica.
In July of 2020, CVM TV, spoke to residents in Denham Town struggling with water problems.
Piped water has been a scarce commodity for residents of Denham Town in west Kingston and while water trucks supply the area from time to time, some residents complain about the cost attached. They are appealing to the national water commission ( NWC ) to intervene as quickly as possible as their plight has become unbearable. Aladden Love reports.
Similarly, people in Denham Town told Mello TV News, that they are out of water for about five to six years.
The lack of running water in Jamaica affects individuals and communities in many ways:
– **Health Issues**: The absence of clean running water creates unsanitary conditions that can lead to diseases such as diarrhoea, cholera, and other waterborne illnesses.
– **Education Problems**: In areas without running water, children often have to fetch water before going to school, which can result in less time spent on education.
– **Economic Impact**: It reduces the productivity of adults who spend numerous hours collecting water instead of engaging in more economically productive activities.
The black tanks have become a symbol of despair and a blatant insult to the citizens of Jamaica. These tanks are a constant reminder of the unequal distribution of resources, creating a palpable divide between different parts of society.
Coverage of clean and readily available water, one of the primary fundamental rights of citizens. The common people, who are entitled to clean water directly from their taps, are instead forced to view these black tanks as their primary source of water or water trucks which comes once in a while for a hefty cost.
Neglected by the government in terms of infrastructure and public utilities’ development, these black tanks are a slap on the face of Jamaican citizens. They are the visible manifestation of the struggle faced by people of Jamaica every day, a grim reminder of the government failing to perform its basic duties.
Despite being in the 21st century, where nations are surpassing each other in technology and development, Jamaican citizens are grappling with fundamental issues. The lack of an efficient and fair distribution system of water reflects poorly on us as a society.
It is high time that the governments of Jamaica wakes up to this pressing issue and invests in creating a robust infrastructure that ensures clean and safe water supply to all its citizens. Furthermore, sustainable efforts to maintain and improve this infrastructure are necessary to prevent such insults to citizens.