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Jul 29, 2009

Water problems in Valley of Peace, Cotton Tree Villages

Story PictureIt is said that water is life. But in modern day Belize, two rural communities water is a scarce commodity and there seems to be no solution on the horizon for either of them. Marion Ali visited Valley of Peace and Cotton Tree Villages to find out what life is like when water is scarce.

Marion Ali, Reporting
This is not an unusual sight in Valley of Peace in the Cayo District. In fact, this washing stall was built exactly for this purpose. But for the past three months these women and the residents of Valley of Peace have been having a major water crisis.

Marion Ali
“First you used to get the water straight to your homes right?”

Dina Rodriguez, Resident, Valley of Peace
“Aha, through the pipe it was more easier.”

Marion Ali
“And what happened?”

Dina Rodriguez
“I don’t really know the problem but just something with some tubes, something bruk and something with the machine.”

Alfredo Cerritos, Chairman, Water Board, Valley of Peace
“The problem we have is that the bottom part of the pump is not working and it doesn’t give enough pressure so that the water can go up one hundred and fifty feet into the tank. We have to get a new pump with all the systems because we have tried already with different ones that don’t work. So we have to try and get a new one that costs ten thousand dollars.”

But finding that ten thousand dollars is another challenge for the water board. And while they have made a down payment of three thousand five hundred dollars towards it, the remaining six thousand five hundred dollars is not easy to come by.

Alfredo Cerritos
“The government has provided technical help but I can’t tell when it’s going to be solved.”

The problem has also required the villagers to transport water from the wells and creeks back to their homes for daily use. And for those who don’t trust the safety of the available water, they buy purified water to drink. But there’s another problem. The water level is low in the wells and creeks.

Margarita Rodriguez, Resident, Valley of Peace
“It affects us because we don’t have sources to get water. It’s few of them.”

And because water supply is limited, the villagers wash and bathe at the washing stand. Closer to the city at mile forty-five on the Western Highway the situation is not so dire but it still is a far from acceptable. Residents have limited water supply to their homes and if that runs out, their next resort is this village pump.

Adolfo Baizar, Chairman, Cotton Tree
“When they put on the current fi di water we dah get water fi bout three hours. Dat dah it fi bout three hours and til tomorrow or wah next day again we got di same…”

Marion Ali
“Ih neva used to be like dis?”

Adolfo Baizar
“No. I think weh happen, di village expand. Deh seh deh have lotta leakage so dis is di reason why di water is not circulating all about di place.”

Marion Ali
“So what will fix the problem?”

Adolfo Baizar
“Well, I think di problem, fi fix dat dah fi help—di people from Rural Development told me that we have to try find all leakage, put wah stop to dehn leakage deh and people wata wah stretch lee further. Right now government says that they sign up agreement with SIF or some companies dat we wah get di wata system from Belmopan go right down to Frank’s Eddy but when, we don’t know.”

That is the uneasy situation that this indefinite response has left the people of the two affected communities.

Dina Rodriguez
“We don’t have nowhere to get some water and if we don’t have water what can we do?”

Reporting for News Five, Marion Ali.

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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