Four months, no water for Melajo residents

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Residents of Melajo, Vega De Oropouche, fill water at a standpipe in the area. PHOTO COURTESY EMROLD JAMES –

WATER, everywhere but not a drop to drink. That is the cry of over 100 households from the community of Melajo at Vega De Oropouche, which has been without a pipe-borne supply since May.

Speaking to Newsday on Sunday, spokesman for the residents, Emrold James, said they depended on rainwater and a nearby standpipe for water.

James said innovative villagers have taken to filling water drums on their vans, and selling it to others who are without transport. He said some kind-hearted neighbours who have greater storage capacity, have taken to “lending” villagers, containers of water in emergency cases.

With children on vacation, James said the situation was dire.

“Right now, I have water bottles in my trunk which I am taking home to flush the toilet.”

One of his neighbours, Jovica Henderson, said several of his family members lived in the area, including his grandparents, uncle, aunts and brothers.

“We are a low-income community and we cannot afford to buy water. To fill a 500-gallon tank, the cost is $300 and that last just a few days.

“It’s a real strain because, even though we are not getting water, we still have to pay our WASA bill every quarter.”

Darren Clement, another resident, said he lived on a hill so his situation was even worse.

“I have been suffering for over one year because when water comes and the pressure is low, it does not reach my home.”

Clement said six people lived in his household and a 500-gallon tank of water lasted just about a week, once they used it sparingly.

Resident Bobby Ali was so incensed by the horrors of having no water to care for his family of eight, he used some colourful language to refer with WASA.

“If I was f—— depending on WASA, I dead right now.”

James explained, some time ago, trucks traversing the roadway to get to quarry in the area damaged some of the water mains.

Residents subsequently mounted a protest for the bad roads and the water problems.

“That caused some problems. WASA came and fix the lines, but still no water. This problem happening long before the road situation.

“No one can tell us why the water is reaching the standpipe, but going no further to our homes.

“The pressure is so low at the standpipe that we cannot even use a hose to fill barrels on van trays. People have to full these barrels by the bucket.”

He said they really need the situation resolved.

WASA’s communication manager, Daniel Plenty, via WhatsApp message said a WASA team would be dispatched to the area on Monday to resolve the issue.