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Aug 24, 2011

Frank’s Eddy needs potable water

Frank’s Eddy is a growing community on the Western Highway and the gateway to some of Belize’s many wonders. Thousands of tourists trek through the village and visit businesses along the way every year.  But what many don’t know is that for years the village has had to do without potable water. The problem is compounded by contamination at the nearby river. News Five Andrea Polanco was called upon by the villagers to expose their plight.

Andrea Polanco, Reporting

For four years this water reservoir in the Frank’s Eddy Community hasn’t been pumping water. A hundred and ten households and nine businesses in the Frank’s Eddy Community have had to search for possible alternatives for potable water. The water tank was shut down a long time ago after it was declared contaminated:

Hilario Mes

Hilario Mes, Chairman Frank’s Eddy Village

“Here in this village we are deeply affected because it is taking too long—it’s about four years now. First our pump was bad due to some kind of mineral that eats up the bushing in the pump and it’s bad for consumption as well so the health department stopped us from using that.”

The options in the village are limited. Only a few can afford a vat. For the majority, however, it is this single hand pump that supplies water to four hundred residents.

Hilario Mes

“Whenever the ones that can afford a vat hire a tanker, they pay to bring water to full their tanks. The only water source right now is the little hand pump by the school; that’s where everybody or ninety-five percent come to that hand pump to carry in a bucket whenever they wah drink, whenever they wah bathe; whatever they want to do, they come to full their bucket from that hand pump. That is the only pump that is keeping this village going. Besides that, all those that can afford, they go to the river, they hire vehicle or only few that have vehicle, they go to the river and wash. But they can only do that once or twice a week. And the other source is the very few that have vats, vats that holds the rain and that’s how we’re still going up to now.”

Dalia Williams

Not a single drop of water is running through the pipe in the Williams household and it has taken its toll on the family:

Dalia Williams, Resident, Frank’s Eddy Village

“We have a car, so we have to pay gasoline and sometimes we have to go all the way to the river and if the river is not clean we’ll have to pay someone to get water. And you know money isn’t that much right now. Like you see we have plants, we are trying to grow something but still the drought is killing us.”

Andrea Polanco

“So in terms of the water from the pump, do you guys you that—the one that is at the school?”

Dalia Williams

“Well sometimes we use it cause then, like we say the gasoline is very costly so sometimes we go there, but the water is dirty too. No we can’t really consume it, we have to let’s say use the rain water or buy the gallon of water. So it is very hard right now.”

To do laundry, shower and other daily chores some residents have to use this small, almost stagnant creek. Others have to go for three miles to fetch water at the river, but either way, the water is contaminated:

Hilario Mes

“According to the Health Inspector report on the result we had a high mineral problem in the water. When we checked the river, we went and checked where we wanted to bring water from the river; the river is more contaminated than the well. So that makes the government to decide not to get water from the river. That is how they end up making decision to bring it from WASA.”

Andrea Polanco

“But in the meantime, the residents of this area are still using that river because some of them don’t really have an option.”

Hilario Mes

“Yeah we have to. As a tradition, running stream, rivers are waters that we use.”

Vitalino Reyes

Vitalino Reyes, Business Owner

“It’s a lot of tourism going through there. Not only peeing the water, but also they use sunscreen, bug spray, the garbage that they throw there. They take some things like batteries, the guides sometimes do not take care of those and they just throw garbage, plastic bags and so all that is chemicals that the river brings down and we are downstream so we are not really sure what’s going on upstream.”

Hilario Mes

“I have gotten report from families that a little girl was sick and her dad came and said you noh drink the vat or what we call rainwater is killing our children. How come? He is saying because the rainwater contains some kind of worm; bacteria that is affecting inside; according to the doctor. So even that is not safe to drink.”

For Businessman Vitalino Reyes, the water problem isn’t just an added expense but inconvenience as well:

Vitalino Reyes

“I receive a lot of tourists in this area here and I had an idea of just providing them with food or lunch and normally it would be getting water from crystal—the five gallon water—to cook. But for washing and bathing and wash my vehicles and all that, it’s water from the river. But when we don’t go get it, then we have to pay somebody to go get that water in a big tank. That’s mostly what we do.”

Reporting for News Five, I am Andrea Polanco.

Mes said that the Area Rep, Ramon Witz had informed the village about a water system to be introduced but it has been months and nothing tangible has manifested.

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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1 Response for “Frank’s Eddy needs potable water”

  1. Jeeboo says:

    Need water huh? Well our government wants to run all utility companies so you may just have to wait another 4 years for water to come to you. From the private sector, we apologize.

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