Yardley Chase residents want water
St Elizabeth continues to preserve its reputation as the breadbasket parish, but for farmer Anthony Bent of Yardley Chase, the seasonal drought that has plagued the parish for several years could make such a status a thing of the past.
According to Bent, dealing with yearly drought conditions has been a burden on his livelihood.
"That is the main thing affecting Yardley Chase, because we are not getting as much pipe water in the area," Bent told WESTERN STAR. "One or two times every month we get some water, but rain hardly fall, so sometimes we get long droughts."
Bent grows tomato, cauliflower and zucchini, among other crops, on his farm land in the community, crops that are heavily reliant on water for greater yields, but he is forced to depend on what is caught in the rainwater catchment tanks or purchased from the truck at very high prices.
"When there is drought, I have to sometimes buy water from truck for all $12,000," a frustrated Bent said.
"We have pipelines, but no water naah come in a it. I heard that the pump mash up and all kind of news and it not only me, but other people have the same problem."
It is a similar experience for Tanesha Smith and her household. "Up to last week Wednesday, I call down the NWC [National Water Commission) office a Santa Cruz and telling them that I want my own pipe and water yah now, but them a tell me now say them nah make nobody around here apply for water again because there is problem around here with the pipeline and pipelines burst up," Smith said.
"When I buy water, it's like $12,000 and it last for a little while; so water a we main problem round here and in the parish overall."
Other residents of the community told WESTERN STAR that there has been a little improvement since the reopening of Lover's Leap by the management of Jakes Treasure Beach in November.
"Before Jakes we no get no water ... We have to buy water from truck," said Evan Burton, owner of the Lover's Leap Guest House. "For 10 months no water, and as Jakes come we a get water two to three times a week, so we have to thank him that he is here, but the authorities need to do better for the people."