Living on an island is great – you are surrounded by sandy white beaches and clear blue seas. Palm trees abound and life is, well, island-style. Laid-back. No rush, no fuss.
Except when there is no water.
We are experiencing the worst drought and water restrictions that have hit the islands since I have been here, which is now 13 years. We have had water restrictions before but never this bad. Some districts only have water for 2 hours in the evenings. And this latest drought and the subsequent water restrictions came hot on the heels of “disastrous” floods which occurred in January.
The Government has put in place measures to ensure that new houses have to have a separate water tank installed before planning permission is granted to build. This is all well and good. But what about the hospitals and clinics ? Families of patients are being asked to bring bottled water so that the patients have, at least, drinking water.
And all this whilst there are at least 4 desalination plants which have been “donated” by various sources over the last 15 or so years. However, maintenance contract fees were apparently not paid, and the companies contracted to maintain the plants left the islands years ago, leaving the plants inoperative.
There have been an enormous number of four or five star hotels built – all needing water. They are mostly empty because of high room rates – thankfully perhaps ?
And that’s not to mention Eden Island (www.edenisland.sc). All households have a washing machine and dishwasher, some have fresh water plunge pools. Most of the apartments/houses/villas are occupied in December, which is our usual rainy season. This means that even if we have a good rainy season, all of our water is used by visitors, albeit that they are “landowners”. But THAT’s another story……..
And none of them have separate water supplies, although I have been told that there is now a desalination plant feeding the island development.
Working hours are normally from 8am – 4pm or 4.30pm. Fortunately in our office we are only two ladies and we have our own bathroom/toilet. The only problem is that in town the water supply is only available from 5 am to 7 am, and from 5 pm to 8 pm – when most offices are closed.
I know I shouldn’t complain – some people have no water at all. But they also probably don’t have high-speed internet connections, as we do. They probably also don’t have DSTV, as we do. They are not a flourishing offshore centre – as we apparently are. They probably also don’t have a per capita GDP of US$13 000 – as we apparently do
In the meantime, the national beauty queen (and I use this term very loosely) is in Italy being groomed for Miss Universe or Miss World or some such pageant. For 3 or 4 months. The cost of that alone could probably get at least one of the desalination plants running again.
The area we live in only has water from 5pm to 7 pm – ie no water in the morning. Fortunately, we have our own tank so we are OK. Other households with children must be suffering, especially in the morning.
If you are considering visiting these beautiful islands, please make sure that wherever you are going to stay has an independent water supply – ie a tank. Your holiday could otherwise be very uncomfortable with everybody only being able to shower between certain hours – and then those hours are unreliable.
Disclaimer: All articles and letters published on MyNews24 have been independently written by members of News24's community. The views of users published on News24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of News24. News24 editors also reserve the right to edit or delete any and all comments received.