Lack of water forcing residents to consume untreated spring water
COPSE, Hanover - A severe drought which has compromised the National Water Commission's (NWC) ability to distribute water in the pipelines throughout this rural community has forced some residents to make a mile- and -half -trek down a rocky terrain to source untreated water from a spring.
But the odyssey is made even more onerous after the residents get the natural commodity from the small fountain - nestled deep in the wilds - load their container and make their way back up the hill.
To further compound their woes the water source where residents sometimes bathe and do their laundry, appears to be rapidly "drying up".
Earlier this week scores of residents accompanied Dr Christohper Tufton, the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP), deputy leader in charge of Area Council Four; Paula Kerr Jarrett, the JLP caretaker for Eastern Hanover and Melvin Archer, JLP candidate for the Chester Castle division in the upcoming local government elections, to the water hole in the woodlands.
Archer complained bitterly over the residents' ordeal and called on the elected political representatives and the NWC to move with alacrity to have the situation addressed.
" I want to make an appeal to the relevant authorities to make water available in the area. They sometimes assist with a truck but that it is not enough, we need the government to play a more active role in that," Archer charged.
He told the Observer West that the residents have been undergoing this hardship for a number of years during the drought period.
"There is water crisis throughout the whole division for years and years. It is a continuous thing when it reaches this time of the year. There is no water and it needs to be addressed," he stressed.
Archer further noted that MP Dr DK Duncan has initiated the trucking of water in the division but he accused the People's National Party (PNP) of distributing the commodity on a partisan basis.
But, Wynter McIntosh, the PNP councillor for the Chester Castle division rubbished the JLP's accusation as mischievous.
At the same time, he lauded Dr Duncan for his timely initiative, and blaming the NWC for their failure to distribute piped water in the area.
"For anyone to say water is being distributed on a partisan basis is foolishness. When these water trucks go out everybody put out their containers and they get water," McIntosh countered.
He added: "And I must say though thanks to the member of parliament because it was his initiative that we start delivering water right across the constituency where NWC fails to provide water for these residents".
Yesterday, Ava-Marie Ingram, Community Relations Manager, western division of the National Water Commission explained that the Shettlewood Water system which supplies Copse and surrounding communities is being affected by low water levels in the wake of drought conditions in the area.
" The system is being impacted by low levels at the intake, a problem that is impacting several facilities in that region because of the impending drought, and we are trying to mitigate the impact on customers by trucking. We will continue to truck to the affected area on a weekly basis," she explained.