Barbadians are being warned to
prepare for more periodic emergency shut-offs across several parishes.
This drastic measure is being taken by the Barbados Water Authority as it responds to extremely low water levels at its golden ridge reservoir and other issues affecting the water supply.
Word of more periodic emergency shut-offs came from Minister of Energy and Water Resources, Wilfred Abrahams, during a press conference at the ministry’s office in country road Thursday morning.
According to him, this is what will happen, starting Friday, every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. and then again between 9 p.m. and 4 a.m. The Barbados Water Authority will be implementing emergency shutdowns of the lines between its Applewhaites and Golden Ridge pumping stations.
This is expected to impact a number of communities across St, George, St. John and St. Thomas.
The minister explains this has become necessary because low rainfall has led to reduced groundwater levels.
As a result, the Castle Grant distribution system has been producing only 750 thousand gallons of water per day and while that sounds like a lot, it’s actually less than half of what is needed.
The minister says it has, therefore, become necessary for the BWA to ration water.
Minister Abrahams says the problem has been further compounded by mechanical issues with two pumps at the newly-commissioned pumping station at Trents, St. James.
He says replacements had to be special-ordered from the manufacturer, and will be airlifted from France in the interest of time, even though it will be a costly venture.
General Manager, Keithroy Halliday, says the BWA has considered offering discounts or rebates to customers, who experience frequent water outages.
However, he explains there is still a minimum cost that customers are required to pay, to cover the authority’s costs of doing business.
Meantime, technical advisor to the BWA’s board, Dr. John Mwansa, says government has approved plans to upgrade the Bridgetown and South Coast sewage plants to tertiary treatment facilities.
He says this will be done through what is known as a PPP approach, which basically means government will be collaborating with the private sector.
With the pending shutdowns, some people are probably wondering about
the recent occasional heavy rainfall, well for those of you wondering why the
water levels are so low, despite some very wet days in recent weeks, the
minister revealed it will take at least 90 days for that water to make it into
the groundwater system.
So it won’t reach there until around the end of December or so.
So those in the most affected communities please take note as the periodic shut offs get set to commence from tomorrow, Friday September 27th.