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James Paul, CEO of the Barbados Agricultural Society

BUSINESS MONDAY: Solutions to help reduce water use on farms


The recent water restrictions has not impacted the industry that uses more water than anything else in Barbados – Agriculture. On March 1, The Barbados Water Authority imposed mandatory water restrictions for a three-month period to help combat drought conditions affecting the island. However, the Barbados agriculture sector was exempted from the restrictions says James Paul, CEO of the Barbados Agricultural Society. 
According to Paul, this exemption has encouraged the use of new agricultural practices to combat drought. “What we want to say, we have encouraged the farming community to be more responsible in the use of water. Of course what we have also done is the use of modern technology such as the drip-irrigation systems have meant that farmers have become more efficient in the use of water especially at this point in time.”
Speaking to the press at his headquarters, the CEO said, “We have also seen too, the attempt to utilise non traditional sources. Actually, there is a process we are waiting to see to successful completion. We are looking at the use of brown water which is water we used for washing purposes in commercial plants. We are trying to get a tank in place that will actually transport that water to the relevant fields once it is certified that it can be used.” 
Although the farming community may not be impacted as much as general consumers, the agricultural community has adopted innovative solutions to better manage water consumption in the sector. Paul confirmed that, “The whole issue of the use of brown water is something that they can really take on board, because there is a large amount of water that they use by manufacturing plants that we can use for farming purposes because all that water does is goes back into the ground. So that is a strategy that we are looking to employ during a period where u having a prolonged drought.”
“So we are looking at some strategies and hopefully we could be able to maintain production of crucial crops.”
Paul said the only area of concern as it relates to the water restrictions is in the area of livestock. “The only thing is that in the area of livestock, it could have an impact because we have to maintain water on those farms especially our diary sector and our poultry sector.” (KW)

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