Friday 30 October, 2020

‘Seriously’ Speaking: Do the authorities really give a ‘dam’?

Marcus Garvey Drive... where more water is deposited from each rainfall in the Corporate Area that at both the Mona Dam and Hermitage Reservoir.

Marcus Garvey Drive... where more water is deposited from each rainfall in the Corporate Area that at both the Mona Dam and Hermitage Reservoir.

Editor’s note: For the clear understanding of the readers in general, this weekly opinion column is meant to be satirical in nature, light-hearted, and poking fun here and there. So you are invited to sit back on Sunday and roll with the punches – in whatever direction – as a lively way of closing out the weekend and switching gear into the working week ahead.

“Water, water, everywhere, but not a drop to drink" - English poet, Samuel Taylor.

The recent heavy rainfall across the country that was triggered largely by Hurricane Delta should have been a major boost for the water levels at the two major catchment systems in the Corporate Area. But I am willing to bet a month's salary that the damn dams have only been slightly impacted by this blessing from the Man Upstairs.

Why is it that in a country known as the ‘land of wood and water’, we can't seem to get the second part right?

Why do we seem to have a water catchment problem, especially in the Corporate Area, when so many areas are flooded out in times of torrential rains?

I know women who live in Duhaney Park who have perfected the art of bathing with a thimbleful of water, yet if rain falls for 10 minutes uninterrupted in HWT these days, people start making nervous jokes about arks and so on.

Maybe the authorities should seriously consider relocating the damn dams to Marcus Garvey Drive, Half-Way Tree or sections of New Kingston, where we would be sure to have full dams after each ‘good’ shower, and we could stop rationing showers, car washes and lawn care, especially the showers.


So what is the major problem? If you believe the National (No) Water Commission, the problem is turbidity.

"It must be noted that there is not an automatic increase in water supply after a period of heavy rains due to several factors, chief among which is extremely high turbidity. At the moment, there are high turbidity levels associated with inflows to the Mona Reservoir affecting water production output at both the Mona and Hope treatment plants, resulting in a reduction in water distribution from both facilities,” a recent release from the N(N)WC said.

Turbidity is a critical measurement for drinking water plants, and can be affected by the presence of microscopic particles such as clay, silt and other fine, undissolved matters. Simply put, it's just a fancy way of saying that the damn dams are full of silt and the N(N)WC is full of you know what.

The all too familiar water lock-offs.

Whenever the island experiences heavy rainfall, and I see the inevitable flood of videos on social media with flooded streets, surging rivers (including at Marcus Garvey Drive and good old Half-Way Tree where Anthony used to Cruz and ‘pree’ the girls them) and stalled motor vehicles, and that snatch of poetry from Englishman Samuel Taylor comes to mind: “Water, water everywhere, but not a drop to drink".

October is the wettest month of the year in Jamaica, with rain expected on at last half of the days, from downpours that last for just a few minutes, to continual torrential rainfall from active weather systems. Will we emerge out of this rich bounty with even a 75 per cent capacity at Mona Dam?

In the words of comedian Bawda Cat, "Dat will neva happen; yuh will never live fi si dat happen!"

Until next week, hold a ‘waters’ if you can amid us ‘Seriously’ Speaking.

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