EDITORIAL – Solution needed to ease water woes

Residents in some rural parishes such as St. John and St. Joseph
continue to cry out about continuous and persistent water outages, and
of late the complaints have centred around the receipt of water bills,
even though they have had no water running through their taps.

How frustrating it must be to wake up on mornings to find that your
taps are dry and that your store of water is so limited that you are
unable to do basic things such as bathe, brush your teeth or even
cook. In the midst of a COVID-19 pandemic, where the emphasis is on
hygienic practices, the issue becomes very grave. Indeed, we have to
acknowledge that this situation is likely affecting how persons
function and how productive they are – both at home and in the
workplace – as their days are fixated on getting enough water to carry
them through their day. It cannot be easy having to go without water
for extremely long periods of time.

Under the present administration, we are hearing that new mains are to
be constructed to transfer water to affected parishes, and that new
reservoirs are to be constructed as well to supply some areas. There
was even talk of plans for a desalination plant to be constructed in
Joe’s River to pump water uphill into parts of St. Joseph, but some
“technical challenges” were experienced. It was also stated that over
the next two or three years, the BWA will be seeking to supplement the
supply of water by introducing a number of projects that will see new
reservoirs and booster stations, the replacement of mains, the
installation of two temporary packaged desalination plants and the
supply of industrial desalination water.

Meanwhile, just recently, Minister of Energy and Water Resources,
Wilfred Abrahams, asked that frustrated Barbados Water Authority
customers who have had to put up with dry taps, water shortages and
water outages for some time now, bear with the BWA, given efforts to
bring the Barbados Water Supply Infrastructure Rehabilitation Project
on stream. Minister Abrahams noted that the project, which is being
financed by the European Investment Bank and CAF-the Development Bank
of Latin America, will be a significant step towards helping the BWA
overcome a number of the challenges it has been facing. Acknowledging
that the BWA will now have the finance it did not have in the past to
carry out a number of capital works projects, he said relief is
therefore on the horizon for many BWA customers who have been crying
out for assistance for a while.

Now we cannot ignore the fact that we are not getting adequate
rainfall and, as such, water levels are low and some taps remain dry
due to the present climatic conditions. We acknowledge the many
projects slated to also come on stream. However, in the interim, the
affected residents must get the sense that someone cares about their
plight and action is being taken to remedy their situation. This is
what has been missing. The relevant authorities need to up their game
and ensure that they keep in constant communication with residents
about such a stressful and difficult matter.

How can residents also be asked to pay for a commodity they have not
received? Better can be done where this matter is concerned.

Barbados Advocate

Mailing Address:
Advocate Publishers (2000) Inc
Fontabelle, St. Michael, Barbados

Phone: (246) 467-2000
Fax: (246) 434-2020 / (246) 434-1000