Sunday 25 October, 2020

Dry taps in St John not from water 'rationing'

The Minister of Energy and Water Resources, Wilfred Abrahams has said the persistent water issues affecting parts of St John are not as a result of “deliberate rationing” but rather due to extreme drought conditions affecting Barbados and other Caribbean islands.

In a statement, the Minister explained that the lack of water is as a direct result of low water levels at the BWA’s Bowmanston pumping station, with the critical contributing factor being the low stream levels in the aquifer as a result of low rainfall. 

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“…each day, the BWA pumps water into the affected areas until the reservoir is depleted. Once there is water in the reservoir, that water is fed into the system until the reservoir is entirely dry… once the supply is exhausted, the taps are dry until the reservoir is replenished… the BWA’s communications team has been exceedingly efficient in ensuring that the public is notified in a timely manner of the occasions when planned shutoffs will occur and the areas to be affected by these shutoffs.

He noted the the persistent drought has resulted in the BWA’s inability to produce enough water to maintain the demand of the affected areas such as Sherbourne, Wilson Hill, Pothouse, Small Town and Gall Hill among others.

The Minister emphasized the water issues affecting the parish are not a recent occurrence and will not be solved overnight.

In light of this, the BWA began the $14.8 million Vineyard project. This would see the movement of water from Vineyard, St Philip into the Golden Ridge/Bowmanston system. 

“This project is currently on hold due to the financial position of the BWA as a direct result of the negligence and mismanagement of the BWA by the last administration and the failure in the past to focus any funding on the improvement of water resources to the parishes in the hardest hit areas. However, we are working with the Ministry of Finance to restart the Vineyard project in the shortest possible time.”

The BWA has been servicing/filling the community tanks in St. John most severely affected by low water levels on average twice a day. Over the past week, the BWA has deployed two additional 1,000 gallon water tanks to Sherbourne, St.John and is working to bolster the water tanker fleet with the possible addition of suitable private sector vehicles which are in slow rotation as a result of COVID-19. 

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