The United States Government, through the United States Agency for International Development Eastern and Southern Caribbean Mission (USAID/ESC), will provide a grant of USD $350,000 for groundwater monitoring equipment to support the Barbados Water Authority (BWA) in partnership with the Caribbean Institute of Meteorology and Hydrology (CIMH).
This initiative was announced at a September 21 meeting between Acting Prime Minister Santia Bradshaw and USAID/ESC Regional Representative Clinton D. White. This programme is part of the ongoing commitment by the United States to the people of Barbados to assist in mitigating and adapting to climate change.
The issue of water reserves is important in a water scarce country such as Barbados. The country faces drought, which is intensified by less frequent rainfall, saline intrusion, and an ageing water distribution infrastructure. These factors make it difficult for the BWA to ensure basic water service to all parts of the country.
Working with the CIMH, the BWA is establishing a network of groundwater monitoring stations that track water levels and quality, including salinity, in three communities. Under the grant, approximately 20 stations will be added to this network, which will greatly improve BWA’s ability to monitor groundwater flows and will assist with the overall management of water service to the citizens of Barbados. Groundwater monitoring is part of a larger United States assistance programme to Barbados and the region to build resilience to the effects of climate change.
In response to the announcement, Acting Prime Minister Bradshaw thanked USAID for the generous support and stated that, “it bears testament to the strong relationship and support for development between the Government of Barbados and the Government of the United States. The needs were heard and USAID responded in short order.”
USAID/ESC Regional Representative Clinton D. White noted, “This data collection and measurement that will result from the placement of the equipment is critical to evaluating the quantity and quality of groundwater and will provide BWA with information to make wise use of limited groundwater resources. It is an important step in ensuring that Barbados has a reliable water supply.” (U.S. Embassy Bridgetown)