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Sep 6, 2001

San Pedranos still suffering water shortage

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Since Tuesday, we’ve been following the story of San Pedro’s water woes. With the pipes still largely dry and tempers on the island flaring, News 5′s Ann-Marie Williams caught a flight out to the caye to find out exactly what was going on.

San Pedrano #1

“Yeah, we’re all complaining because we don’t have any water. They said on the noon broadcast seventy-two hours.”

San Pedrano #2

“The most water we get is like two buckets for each room and that’s it. “

San Pedrano #3

“We full the one bucket to use for bathing, washing and my house.”

San Pedrano #4

“No hay nada de agua para lavar, para tomar. Nada. Es mucho problema.”

Ann-Marie Williams, Reporting

A problem Jim Kavanagh, manager of Belize Water Limited on San Pedro said started just over a week ago and has since escalated.

Jim Kavanagh, Manager, Belize Water Ltd.

“About ten days ago and the other on broke down approximately six days after that. Our plant is set up so that if we do have a failure, the other half can continue to operate. In this case, both broke, and it was the same piece of equipment. This piece of the equipment is a very heavy-duty thing that is not expected to have these kinds of failures, so it is an extremely unusual set of circumstances that happened. We were down to half capacity and we have a spare that’s being adapted in the States to accept the motor, which is an adaptation that needed to be made. In the middle of that, that’s when the failures occurred.”

A failure Omar Silva, public relation’s officer for Belize Water Services Limited in Belize City, says has everybody losing.

Omar Silva, P.R., Belize Water Services

“The town doesn’t get water, the tourists, B.W.S. can’t get its revenues because it can’t supply water to its residents.”

Ann-Marie Williams

“So it’ll be better for you if in the end you all decide to build that desalination plant.”

Omar Silva, P.R., Belize Water Services

“Well of course, it will be better for San Pedranos on a whole. Belize Water Services have a purchase agreement with Belize Water Limited to get water to that they could pipe it and get it to the San Pedranos. Over the last month and a half, we’ve been having problems on two occasions. Belize Water Services is trying to review the contract to see where they could see areas that could make Belize Water Limited comply with the contract of providing water in a capable and in efficient quantities. “

In the meantime, things are far from efficient on la Isla Bonita. Over at Carmen’s Kitchen, Carmen admits it’s difficult for her to cope.

Carmen Spencer, Manager, Carmen’s Kitchen

“It’s very hard. We need to wash dishes and things like that; we have a big problem with that. I hope everything gets better. I have to go over there, get my big buckets of water, and bring it to the kitchen to wash our hands, wash the vegetables. It’s pretty hard this week.”

Residents near the airstrip road and in town are also finding it very hard.

Jacquie Devine, Manager, Banana Beach Resort

“No pressure, did not have enough for a shower, you’re getting a trickle. That’s all that’s available right now.”

And while we were there, residents got a temporary reprieve. They were fetching water and even golf carts were being washed.

But on the other side of town, school children were not exempted from the water shortage. Vice principal of San Pedro Primary School, Rosario Guerrero was under pressure to make daily water plans.

Rosario Guerrero, Vice-Principal, San Pedro Primary School

“We have one person taking care of the bathrooms and she has to go to the sea to get some water to flush the toilets. For washing hands, we don’t have any means. We have to go to the sea and get some water to wash hands. Very inconvenient.”

Most of the hotels on the island were equipped with their wells or tanks, a hard lesson they learnt, thanks to Hurricane Keith.

Jacquie Devine

“It would have been really, really difficult. It would be like being back after the hurricane when we didn’t have water and we didn’t have that set-up at the time. We couldn’t provide water to the guests. It’s difficult, it’s impossible.”

Ann-Marie Williams

“San Pedranos will have to suffer the inconvenience of not having water over the long September tenth holiday weekend. However, Kavanagh says the part comes in on Tuesday and by Wednesday the island should be up and pumping its three hundred thousand gallon a day capacity to its residents. Reporting from San Pedro Town, Ann-Marie Williams for News 5.

San Pedranos are reminded to fill their containers as the island will be on a strict water schedule until the shortage is over, hopefully by Wednesday.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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