Saturday 8 August, 2020

Over $45 million to be spent on residents' water woes

The Barbados Water Authority (BWA) will be spending in excess of BBD $45 million in upgrades of water mains and other infrastructure in the coming months to help address water woes faced by residents of St John and elsewhere, according to officials.

BWA Director of Engineering Charles Leslie said the BWA will be installing mains from Vineyard in St Philip through Mount Pleasant to Colleton, St John in order to facilitate the transfer of water from wells located in the Groves area of St Philip.

“For us to transfer water from Vineyard into St John it is a five to six-month project. So we will get that water here by December, January,” added BWA Acting General Manager Dr John Mwansa, while speaking with residents at a BWA Town Hall Meeting in Gall Hill, St John earlier this week.

“We have done the majority of the preliminary work. We had meetings with contractors to cut the trenches on our behalf last week. We have agreed on the cost of that trenching and we are going to assign several contractors in order to expedite the process,” Mwansa explained.

“We are going to use five or six contractors to expedite that work. So you have to bear with us. We understand the problems you are going through…The time will seem long but that is the best we could do,” he further added.

Mwansa noted that the lead-up to the final implementation stage of any project undertaken by the BWA could often be lengthy due to impact studies, permits and other variables.

The BWA Town Hall Meeting was hosted by the Member of Parliament for St John Charles Griffith and the Minister of Water Resources Wilfred Abrahams. Chairman of the Board of the BWA, Leodean Worrell, also participated in the meeting which was also streamed on Facebook.

“The mains replacement, the upgrades of facilities and the upgrade of the water infrastructure facilities is a very costly process, and it takes time to do that. And we, fortunately, have been able to get this money to be able to do this. It is not going to be able to replace everything in our network, but it is a targeted approach,” stated the BWA Director of Engineering Leslie.

“It is looking at those areas that are giving us the most problems, and it is looking at transferring water from those areas where there is some excess water back into the areas currently experiencing problems. So those are the solutions that we have been looking at in terms of upgrading the infrastructure,” Leslie added.

According to Leslie, BWA expenditures also included about BBD $500,000 for the installation of standby generators to mitigate the reliability of pumping stations, and BBD $1.2 million for pumping facilities upgrades in the Lancaster, Apes Hill and Lazaretto areas. “So in total, to address these problems up here [in St John] we are going to be spending in excess of BBD $45 million,” he added.

Welch Town, Church View, Newcastle, Colleton and Gall Hill are areas where mains will be replaced. Last year, the BWA also upgraded its desalination plant at Spring Garden to increase the desalination process and boost its infrastructure.

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