Yigo family lives off rainwater, unable to tap GWA - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Yigo family lives off rainwater, unable to tap GWA

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by Lannie Walker

Guam - A program meant to give land to local families has left some lacking basic necessities.  For Ruth Astillero and her brother John Cruz, living on their family's land in Yigo is a struggle.  "Because there is no water supply, how is anybody going to live through this?" she questioned.

Astillero says they are living off rainwater, unable to get hooked up to Guam Waterworks Authority's system, explaining, "They told me to go to Land Trust and have them install sewer line [sic], and then when I talk to land trust they tell me I have to go to Waterworks. They giving me the runaround."  She says the land was given to her family over 20 years ago under a residential lease from the Chamorro Land Trust Commission. 

Heidi Ballendorf, spokesperson for GWA, says that is where the responsibility lies.  "If they issued the land, they are supposed to put in the water line," she said.  And CLTC Acting Administrator Jess Garcia admits the problem goes way back, noting, "The proper way of issuing out a lease it should be surveyed first, then the CLTC should have already had a plan for road water power to the lands that were given out."

But the CLTC failed to do that - and now this family is left high and dry.  They say they were told they must pay to run pipes to their property, as Astillero said, "I was advised that to come up with $50,000 to do it on my own.  I don't have $50,000!"

And neither, it seems, does the CLTC.  "The CLTC is responsible for land the problems is the financing of it the CLTC, in the beginning it did not have financial capabilities of putting the basic infrastructure," Garcia said.

But for now the siblings says they are stuck with out many options.  "I have nowhere to go," said Astillero, "this is what I can call home, where am I going to go?"

And Garcia says this part of the reason more land is not being doled out, adding, "That's why this situation today not issuing any more leases out to Chamorro Land Trust applicants until such time resolve issues like this."

The residents said, "It's a big challenge of survival, I mean, what is our government doing?" to which Garcia replied, "That is the problem with the CLTC - there was no proper planning of these types of issues that are coming up today with utilities."

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