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Team effort restored water for Christmas

As we know, Christmas Eve is traditionally one of the busiest days in any country. With Bermuda being no exception, locals are focused on: shopping, visiting, bar-hopping and domestic duties.

Those duties include cooking, changing curtains, washing dirty clothes and cleaning of houses. Almost all of those activities centre around having a steady supply of water.

Suffice it to say, without water, none of the above could happen.

So we can agree that it would be a great catastrophe if one was without water on any given day, much more so on Christmas Eve, correct?

Well as luck, or lack of luck, would have it, there was a catastrophic series of events that led to the failure of the government water system that feeds this precious commodity to the residential areas of Prospect in Devonshire. Specifically, scores of homes in Schools Drive and Greenwich Lane.

We were first alerted to the situation by a resident who stated that initially the water pressure was low and then subsequently it stopped altogether. As one can guess, it was only a matter of time before other residents began to contact us with the exact same issues.

When an MP is contacted with any given issue, their first line of communication must be to the relevant minister and or ministry. After all, no one else can deal with those issues but the staff in the respective ministries and departments.

In this instance, water and sewage falls under the remit of the Department of Works and Engineering, more affectionately known as W&E.

As of 11am on December 24, a flood of calls, Whatsapp messages, e-mails and phone calls started in order to make the W&E aware of the issue, identify the problem, call in the required staff and rectify the situation.

Apparently, the pumps had failed and needed to be replaced. It did not help that those pumps were 200 feet underground and had to be pulled up and then put back. No small feat by any measure.

Simultaneously, we had to communicate back and forth with the affected residents who were rightfully concerned and upset.

It is vitally important that residents know that they can contact the MP with major problems and get not just answers but situations rectified in a timely manner.

Simply put, the MP must do whatever they can to get brought up to speed on issue at hand and be able to translate that to their constituents in multiple forms.

Fortunately, for us, we have at our disposal several ways to reach out to hundreds, if not thousands of persons instantly.

Those methods include e-mail, Whatsapp, Facebook and direct calls. Wayne Caines, the Minister of National Security, had the good fortune of being acting Minister of Public Works, as David Burch is overseas.

So, as yet another “baptism by fire”, minister Caines had to rally a team of engineers, technical staff and media support to solve the problem and keep the residents, some of whom are his constituents, abreast of developments.

With all things falling in place, the pumps were replaced, the water lines were pressurised and residents began to get their water back at approximately 11pm, some 12 hours after the initial outages.

In all of this, the greatest heroes are the residents who contended with the lack of water and as importantly, everyone at W&E who put aside their own plans for Christmas Eve to ensure the water was restored.

On behalf of my fellow Devonshire MPs, minister Caines and Diallo Rabain, the Minister of Education, we apologise for this disruption and thank all concerned.

Christopher Famous is the government MP for Devonshire East (Constituency 11). You can reach him at WhatsApp on 599-0901 or e-mail at cfamous@plp.bm

Water woes: many families were confronted with a Christmas Eve water crisis

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Published December 28, 2018 at 8:00 am (Updated December 27, 2018 at 10:20 pm)

Team effort restored water for Christmas

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