25 YEARS AGO ON AMBERGRIS CAYE   BY ANGEL NUÑEZ

Zero Water Rates 25 Years Ago


W
ater rates are high today and keep going up at ridiculous rates. The water company wants more money and government needs to keep it low. But we have no control. We must pay even if we squeal or bawl or turn upside down.

How fortunate we were 25 years ago when our WATER RATES WERE ZERO. It was absolutely free. We paid not a cent for water and nobody could tell us to conserve it because it was abundant and it was free and each family was owner of his own water system. I am talking about the shallow wells.

There was abundant good and safe water under the ground all over Ambergris Caye and San Pedro, except over the mangrove areas or back street, but nobody lived back there in the 1950s and 60s. You could practically dig a well about 75 to 100 feet off the beach and get an excellent well. My dad lived right on the beach at the foot of Sharks Bar. We had a 50-foot wide beach and then our yard extended about 75 feet deep. At the middle of the yard, we had an 8 foot well that kept a constant level of about four feet of water which was only about 50 gallons of water, but if you moved a bucket of water, it refilled in just a matter of 30 seconds. Our well was always filled with fresh, sparkling clear, cool and safe water. We used to bathe with it. We cooked with it. We did our laundry, dishes, and gardening with it. We fed our chickens, dogs, and hogs with it. But what is best, we even used it as our source of drinking water. We also kept a vat or water reservoir filled with rainwater, but we found the well water nicer and cleaner. When we came out of the sea, we would pour pail after pail of well water over our bodies. It was refreshing and we never worried about how much that would cost us. W had water, plenty of water, water to waste if you wanted to, and it cost not a penny. It was free water that fell from the sky and settled underground.

Next week Ill teach you how to dig a well and keep it working well, just in case you are in an area of town where you can still use a well. The problem is that with the massive growth of the town and the use of septic tanks that were improperly built without the proper soak away, the sewer waste contaminated the ground and consequently the wells of the village. Too many septic tanks were built in the small area around the wells and the bacteria eventually got into the wells. The water started smelling awful and tests revealed high level of contamination. So now our wells are not good for most things, except for flushing a toilet. We must now pay the price of development. We must pay high rates for the water we use. Twenty five years ago nobody bought purified water at such high rates. Even babies drank well water after it was boiled, and those babies grew very healthy. So, am I complaining? No! I am simply saying that I miss those days when the cost of water was Zero.

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