Jamaica: $60,000 bill but no water for 11 years

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Jamaica: $60,000 bill but no water for 11 years
Dorraine Graham shows her water bill.
Dorraine Graham shows her water bill.

(JAMAICA STAR) — Having not had water flowing through her pipes since 2009, Dorraine Graham was shocked to recently receive a bill from the National Water Commission (NWC) for more than $60,000.

Graham, a resident of Rose Hill in Summerfield, Clarendon, said she has to pay as much as $10,000 a month to water truck operators to fill two tanks on which she is dependent. One holds 680 gallons, while the other holds 400 gallons.

“I went down there (the NWC office in May Pen) over three weeks ago and I got the bill and tell them I’m not paying one dollar cause unno know that I took back the meter and a not getting any water,” she said.

She said that years ago her bill was as low as $1,000, but even then, she admitted that she would take it (the bill) back to the post office or just ignore it all together.

“I don’t have any water, so I don’t know what I would be paying for,” she said.

Graham says she is frustrated and tired, and running out of resources trying to ensure she has water to use.

She said that she would love the luxury of having water in her pipe so that she can have a good shower, but she doesn’t see that happening as she claims the pipes are rotting and need to be changed.

Graham is not the only one with water issues, as president of the Community Development Committee, Janette Foster, who lives in Tavanor in the community, said she has dealt with the recurring issue for more than 30 years now.

According to her, residents at the top of the street have water, but there seems to be a block in the main for those who reside further down which prevents water from flowing to those homes.

“Sometimes it is blocked for all of two years,” she said, adding that she longs for the sweet comfort of just taking a shower in the bathroom.

Foster is suggesting that the NWC change the pipes so the water can flow freely again.

“We not getting an ounce of water and yet NWC sends me a bill for $30,000. A take time and pay it little bit, to pay for what I am not getting,” she said, adding that a truck was sent to fill her tank. “I couldn’t even shower from it because I wanted it to last longer, so I had to bathe in a little pan.”

Andrew Canon, corporate public relations manager of NWC, said the agency was “taking seriously the concerns raised about the lack of piped water”.

“We will provide a fulsome response after detailed checks,” he said.

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