General Manager at the Barbados Water Authority (BWA), Keithroy Halliday.
‘Our water is a precious commodity’
GENERAL Manager at the Barbados Water Authority (BWA), Keithroy Halliday, is hopeful that Barbadians will soon come to truly realise not only the importance of valuing water as the precious commodity that it is, but also the importance of paying their water bills on time.
His comments came during an interview with The Barbados Advocate, where he reminded, that Barbados currently ranks 15th in terms of its water scarcity.
“I don’t think there is a sufficient appreciation for what that means. The water procurement in any form or fashion is extremely expensive. There is not enough that we can pull from our aquifers that we can sustain just drawing water from our wells. That is why we start installing desalinating water whether from brackish water or seawater. Seawater being more expensive...
“While we are trying to keep our costs down; the fact that we have to look at installing additional desalination plants to guard ourselves against a potential drought situation the likes of 2015-2016, we have to find a way to make the business model work.”
Halliday stated that with water rates comparatively low to other countries, they ought to be more respectful of this precious resource. He noted that while storage tanks for homes is a good starting point, there may be a need to look at ways to incentivise the use of water-saving devices or giving a tax credit.
The general manager said while persons cry out about the existing water rates, there is a need to sensitise the public about the costs which have risen significantly over the past decade.
“We have to find the right fit in that regard, and at least letting folks know that you cannot waste water. Even if it comes to you cheaply, you cannot afford to waste water. The use must be extremely more judicious.
“We have had prohibition notices in the past... .We may have to ask for stiffer penalties, if we are faced with a drought situation; people are simply not respecting what is required. Part of our marketing would be how do you get into the schools, and getting them to understand how to manage water.”
He said the message coming from the BWA will continue to be “Choose Water First”. “Because it is so readily apparent from our investigations; when people go to pay their bill, they pay every bill except the water bill. If they are trying to manage their bills, water is paid last. If the BWA cannot get paid, we cannot spend the funds that we need to continue to spend on the BWA,” he said.
“Of all of our utilities we can least live without water. We want to change the thinking and the mindset, that you need to pay your water bill first – because it is so paramount!” he said. (JH)