water outage / by Alan Strathman

Today marks five consecutive days we have gone without water.  WASCO, the St. Lucian water company that supplies water to the whole island, is doing some repair work somewhere in the south of the island.

WASCO started out by saying they would shut off the water for three days but only between the hours of 9 am and 6 pm. In reality, they shut off the water for all 24 hours for three days.  Then it became four days.  And now it is five days.

Having no water means different things to different people.  For many people having no water means just what it sounds like, no water comes out of the pipes. This is not the case for me, though, because my landlady has one of these on the back porch:

Our 500-gallon water tank

Our 500-gallon water tank

For the last five days, then, all the water coming out of the pipes has been supplied by the tank. This is a good size tank but I have no idea how much water is left.  I can't really lift it to find out. The tank supplies water for me and for my landlady's family of three upstairs. I have heard that many with smaller tanks are running out of water.

Some people have two or even three tanks.  In St. Lucia, knowing how many water tanks a household has tells you the same information you get in the U.S. from knowing whether someone has a one, two, or three car garage.

One of my neighbors has tanks like this:

I am not sure how big these three tanks are, but not very.  I can imagine that all three are close to being empty.  

So, many people in St. Lucia are completely without water. Today, however, it rained more than it has any other day in the last 12 months. You can bet there were a lot of people on this island with buckets and barrels collecting as much rainwater as they could.  And probably feeling kind of fortunate to be doing so.