No water at Olera Heights, San Fernando

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Residents of Olera Heights Development, San Fernando, protested on Saturday. – Photo by Yvonne Webb

THERE are 45 full, 1,000 gallon water tanks at Olera Heights Apartment complex, San Fernando, yet for the past seven days, residents have been without a water supply, because the water pump is not working.

Additionally, there has been no running water either, from the WASA pipeline for the past week.

On Saturday, some of the residents living in the eight-building apartment block, each seven stories high with 14 apartments on each floor, gathered with empty buckets and bottles to protest for a regular supply of water.

The demonstration also focused on several issues plaguing them for some time, including untimely garbage collection, leaking sewer lines, malfunctioning elevators and crime.

Resident Dwayne Brown said, “When there is water on the line, the tank keeps over flowing and all day water keeps wasting. Right now, all the tanks are full, but we understand the pump is not working so no water is going to the buildings. We have had no water for the past seven days.”

Kern Stoute said this is not the first time they have had to protest for water as the supply is not very reliable.

“I live on the second floor and if I don’t get water, I have a 100 feet hose I hook up, but what about the other people on the fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh floor?”

He said HDC rules prevent residents from having their personal water tanks.

“There are so many rules inside here like we living in jail. I had a tank and they (HDC) remove it. Now I have barrels, so what is going to happen when that finish.

“We need water to wash, to flush toilets, wash dishes. This is real failure.”

Reflecting on the upcoming local elections, Stoute said, “We have a government and when it is time to vote they all around the place. We are saying when it is not election and people having problems, come too. Just like you does want we vote when its election, come and hear our problems.”

Kidney patient Richardson Shorey said he had to cleanse himself before and after his treatment and it was proving to be difficult for him after seven days.

Pamela Lalchan, a cardiac patient, said she was not in arrears and should not be suffering for water.

The irony of the situation, she said, is that while her taps are dry, with the rainy season, her bedroom is constantly flooded.

“I have a pool in my bedroom. I don’t know where the water is coming from. I have reported it, but no one is coming to investigate it.”

She said she has been a victim of vandals and each time she reports it to the police, she is verbally abused and insulted.

Diane Pedro said the situation is unbearable as children who are on vacation spend a lot of time outdoors in the playpark.

“When they come in from play they need to bathe, what do we do, buy a truckload of wet wipes to clean the kids? This is unfair.”

She said when the water comes. it is for a short while and the volume is very low.

Anotte Babb said the lack of water is compounded by a sewer leak from the fifth floor on building seven.

In a release, the Housing Development Corporation (HDC) blamed a recent power surge at the Desalcott for the prolonged water shortage at Olera Heights.

It also said WASA was working to have the problem fixed and the San Fernando City Corporation was also taking proactive measures to enhance the water supply in the development.

“We are in the process of establishing an additional tank farm to ensure a more reliable and improved water-distribution system within the development of Olera Heights.