SOME 23-odd years ago, I had what I thought was the good fortune of moving into Glencoe, a residential area in the north-west peninsula. In those days, circa 1997, water was delivered three times for the week and in the evening times. While this was not ideal, it was for the most part comfortable. I grew up in Petit Valley and had “fond” memories of a bucket always being present in the shower with an ice-cream container to “shower” with. Water three times a week was therefore progress.
I moved to Diego Martin where for 13 years I experienced dry taps just once and that was due to a leak. I can only surmise that water was supplied on a regular basis although I still took the normal precautions of having a water tank on my premises.
Fast forward to 2020, and again, I have the good fortune of once again living in Glencoe, for the past five years. The MP for Diego Martin West, who also happens to be the leader of the political party now in Government and is therefore the Prime Minister of our twin-island country, has his office on the corner of La Horquette Valley Road and Western Main Road. That is, the office for the MP for the area is literally a stone’s throw away from my house. I do also believe that the private residence of the PM overlooks the Glencoe valley and I can say, then, that I technically live in the PM’s back yard.
So, 13 years after moving out of Glencoe, water is still delivered three times a week—Monday evening, Wednesday evening and Friday evening. More or less. I said more or less because in order to receive this three-day supply, it is necessary for the Water and Sewerage Authority (WASA) to send a person to literally turn on a pump and open the valves on the street in order for me to get a water supply.
During Carnival time, when parties are in full swing in Chaguaramas and traffic is backed up beyond Glencoe, the van driver more often than not will get into our area whenever he can—if at all. At other times, for whatever reason, he may not show up at all. So without any human presence from WASA in Glencoe, the residents have to face dry taps. The really sad part is that I understand with this schedule I am still more fortunate than many as there are daily stories of dry taps in all parts of the country, sometimes for weeks on end. Less fortunate however than those who live just south and west in the affluent areas of Shorelands, Goodwood Park and Westmoorings who seemingly get water every day.
What happens when WASA somehow manages to stick to the schedule—their schedule, mind you—on a regular basis, is that I am lulled into a false sense of security and forget to do my daily checks of the water levels in my tanks. Which brings me to July 9, at 6 a.m. No water to shower or anything else for that matter although I was “supposed” to receive my tri-weekly supply the previous night. On speaking to my neighbours I was informed that we had not received water since Saturday morning and the tanks were therefore dry, like the water lines. After numerous complaints to the hotline, lo and behold, water magically appears in the lines at 7.30 a.m. There were no planned disruptions or works being carried out that the CSR on the hotline could tell us that would have caused this disruption.
How then to explain this disruption? Did the van driver forget to pass on Monday night and Wednesday night? Or did he forget to turn on the valve that feeds our street? Should I install yet another tank? The answer from the CSR on the hotline was, “We will take your information and call you back by 10 a.m.” The activists say I should show my displeasure at the polls but in an area that routinely elects the same individual/party for the past too many elections, both local and general, to keep track of, how then would my vote for something different be of any consequence? Why would the PM continually treat his neighbours/constituents in this manner?
General elections have been called for August 10, and we go into that with promises of “Water For All” and “Better Roads and Infrastructure”. Come the evening of August 10, I will not be tuned into the elections results but instead be listening for the sweet sound of water filling my tanks. Hopefully.