Monday, Jan 20, 2020
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Potable water being rationed on Ragged Island

When Myron Lockhart-Bain needs water, he has to take a five-minute drive to the airport to visit the well.

Lockhart-Bain, like all residents remaining on Ragged Island, is upset that there is only potable water once a week for a few hours.

“We will get water for two hours on Thursday,” he said. “That’s when the water is on, when you have to catch the water. If you don’t catch that water, that’s it.”

The Water and Sewerage Corporation (WSC) plant on the island was destroyed during Hurricane Irma last September.

Irma was a Category 5 hurricane when it hit Ragged Island. Much of the island is still in ruins, nine months later.

Since Irma passed, a company called Watermakers, which Lockhart-Bain works for, installed a temporary water system. The system produces eight gallons of water an hour. When the water tank fills, the water is turned on and rationed to residents for a short time.

Lockhart-Bain noted that, because of the strong winds that move through Duncan Town, the water tank can never be depleted, lest it blow away.

“We went back to the 60s,” he said. “It’s a major issue. Did you hear my wife carrying on? She can’t wash. For her to wash, I have to go to the airport and get two barrels of water.”

Charlene Lockhart-Bain, his wife, said the water issue is perhaps the most pressing for residents.

Jamrod Wallace, who works at the local bar, the Ponderosa, agreed.

“It’s rough,” she said. “You need water. Water is essential. As simple as flushing the toilet or washing your hands, we can’t do it. You never know how important water is until you don’t have it, honestly. It’s really difficult.”

Wallace said she had no idea that it would have taken so long for Ragged Island to be repaired.

“You wouldn’t think that, after the fact, this would still be going on for so long,” she said.

“I know things don’t happen overnight. But water? There is no excuse for that. None whatsoever.”

The Restoration Ragged Island Association recently had a water plant installed on the island.

“The association went out and spent $20,000 to bring that plant in here,” Michael Wilson, a member of the group said.

Wilson said the plant was commissioned three weeks ago and that it took two months for WSC to approve the plant.

With the help of the system from Watermakers, Wilson said residents should now receive water three days a week – Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.

But it is only a short-term solution.

Myron Lockhart-Bain said the last time everyone on the island had running water at the same time was before Irma.

Jamrod Wallace said it has been weeks since she had the water in her home turned on.

“We don’t even focus on it, because when they do turn it on, the pressure is so low you still don’t get water,” she said.

“It’s just like you don’t have it. We just go to the well, and that’s that.”

Travis Cartwright-Carroll

Assistant Editor at The Nassau Guardian
Travis Cartwright-Carroll is the assistant editor. He covers a wide range of national issues. He joined The Nassau Guardian in 2011 as a copy editor before shifting to reporting. He was promoted to assistant news editor in December 2018.
Education: College of The Bahamas, English

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