Obtaining clean water has become a problem for those residents of Mayreau who must rely on water collected by catchments, now said to be riddled with goat faeces.
The problem surrounding the main water catchments on Mayreau was brought to SEARCHLIGHT’s attention earlier this week, following which residents on the Island were contacted.
Venner Ollivierre, who is responsible for the upkeep of one of the catchments provided insight into the magnitude of the problem.
He explained that there are two catchments near the Catholic church, side by side, one he knows to have been built by the Government, and one built by the Church.
He is responsible for the upkeep of the catchment built by the church.
“They are not joined together, both tanks, but the catchment in terms of the fencing, both fencing, are joined together,” Ollivierre explained.
He indicated that the sea blast has eroded the fencing wire and the strong wind has blown it back and forth, and that the fencing around one of the catchments is breached in more than one area.
This creates a problem, because the residents believe in a ‘let go’ season for animals in the early dry season, and the goats find their way through the fence, and onto the catchment.
Therefore, “Because of the burst away in the section of the Government catchment…it is unable for me to control the goats from keeping on the church tank also, because as I’ve said already, the two fencing are together.
They can walk from one catchment to the other and the water goes from one catchment to the other.”Ollivierre says that the goats defecate, urinate, and sleep in the catchments, “the goats going in and out, to and fro, almost dropping young ones on the catchment, this is the distance it… gone to.”
The same problem apparently occurs at the less used catchment at the Mayreau Government School, where animals use the area as a sleeping ground, as indicated by three residents.Ollivierre claims that even though the residents know this is the case, they are reluctant to tie their goats.
“All yuh don’t want to tie them, so all yuh don’t care what all yuh drink, I have problem with that.
I have goats too and they’re tied,” he said.Deputy headteacher of the Mayreau Government School, Annie Adams says that she estimates that around 50 per cent of the residents of Mayreau get water from the catchments, “Not everybody in Mayreau have tanks you know.
People have black tanks, and that kinda water wouldn’t last no time, you know, and now is the dry season, they have to go and get water, because they don’t have any.”She opined, “Something needs to be done…with this water thing, since I could remember, a little girl, things like that, and there has been no changing, no changes whatsoever.”
As for the cleaning and maintenance of the Government catchment, Ollivierre says that to his knowledge, the tank has not been cleaned for nearly two decades, as he was involved in cleaning it the last time.
He stated that he has gone to Union Island in person to speak to the District Officer but “Up to now we’ve been getting no assistance about that.”
However, he did say that to his knowledge, there is someone who is paid to maintain the tank.SEARCHLIGHT reached out to the District Officer who indicated that she could not comment.