Pueblo Viejo village without potable water for years

We all know that water is an invaluable resource. More so, having running water certainly eliminates the sometimes unhealthy practice of using water retrieved from creeks and rivers. But this is what the Village of Pueblo Viejo has been dealing with since they lost mechanical water supply some seven years ago. There was previously a water board that controlled a small pump in the community and so there are piping systems for most the village. These were fed with a water pump from a well, but the pump eventually burnt out, leaving them without running water. Since then, the village delegate has been trying earnestly to salvage water distribution throughout the community, even investing in a new pump – but that pump has been sitting there for years, as nothing can be done without the Government’s intervention. PlusNews spoke with Stephen Cho, who was the former Alcalde and who is presently a member delegate and principal in village.

Stephen Cho – Member, Village Delegate:
vlcsnap-2013-04-16-20h28m26s55As we speak, we don’t have piped water, some potable water, but people use hand pumps.  We have had the opportunity to have a water system, but what happened the well went dry, and then we have a burn out in terms of our pump.  And up to now we haven’t had  a running water, or piped water, to our homes.
That well that you have heard from the Alcalde is nonoperational for about seven years. We have been going to different organizations, to Ministry, to Area Reps, and then not much has been done.  There has been a lot of wish lists put up, a lot of promises been done to us, which is not fair for our community, not fair for our people here in Pueblo Viejo.

When PlusNews visited Pueblo Viejo last week, we got a chance to meet with the current village Alcalde, Santos Coc. His biggest concern he said, is that because the water isn’t properly purified, the villagers are at a high risk of water borne diseases. But, according to Stephen Cho, there have been provisions made at the primary school to provide sanitized water to students.

Stephen Cho – Member, Village Delegate:
vlcsnap-2013-04-16-20h10m09s93In our school system, in our Primary School, I’ve changed that and said we need to do something, means while we’re still here.  we have some purification system, a water system, two units that were donated from the Mount Vernon Nazarene University from the States.  So we are in partnership with them to see what we can do whilst we are  here.

So what’s next for the village delegate? Well they say they have done all that they can and now they call on the Government to reinstall the water system.

Stephen Cho – Member, Village Delegate:
vlcsnap-2013-04-16-20h09m07s234But like I said, I stress on the need for water here in Pueblo Viejo.  I see the need very much now, very much so, in our schools and in our health system.  Now that we have a Doctor and Nurse, we need to also make them feel that they are at home, and that we can supply water, because some of the disease, some of the  sickness that we have, are water-borne.  One way to prevent is to perhaps have the re-installation of water system for our community.  The Ministry of Rural Development also need to take some of the blame.  I don’t think they have done much to help educate us, in general, to help maintain our control, the whole concept of having sustainable water reaching to our kitchens or homes.

vlcsnap-2013-04-16-20h13m37s97And if you think this is where the problem ends for the villagers, well that’s only half the story.  In fact, a bridge is currently being built in the area that may result in even more water contamination. This is because parts of the stream, which they get water from, runs directly through the work area. The current Alcalde says that this is all the more reason the village desperately needs a proper water system. Plus News collaborated with Dr. Shaz Austin Davison of the US Peace Corp to bring you this story.

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