The Barbados Water Authority is on an exploration to find close to $1 billion to fund the replacement of all of its ageing infrastructure.
Senior Engineer Stephen Lindo told a news conference at its Project Execution Unit, Manor Lodge, St. Michael this morning, he expects this country to explore avenues for such financing during the Annual Conference and Exhibition of the Caribbean and Wastewater Association opening at Hilton Barbados on October 6.
“We would need, perhaps, almost a billion dollars to replace all of our infrastructure in the ground. There are other countries which would also need financing perhaps of that similar magnitude or even greater. But from our perspective, we will be looking at institutions which could assist us in dealing with this problem,” he disclosed.
Lindo, who is the Chairman of the high level sessions of the upcoming conference, identified such financing sources as country-to-country borrowing, the Caribbean Development Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank, the World Bank, as well as Chinese and Japanese institutions. He said he was certain the region would approach these sources for funding.
“Barbados, as it stands now, has proposals to develop many waste water systems, and at this conference, we will be looking at waste water issues; and there is still the west coast sewage project that is on the table and we will be looking to develop the west coast sewage project, and I’m sure that our minister would be putting that proposal on the table,” added the senior engineer.
“We are also looking to upgrade the existing waste water treatment plants at the Bridgetown, as well as the south coast. That will be another area that we will be looking at,” declared the BWA top official.
“Obviously,” he continued, “that means financing these projects will also come on the table. In addition to that, we’ll be also looking to improve our ground water infrastructure; the pipelines in the ground, we’ll be looking to change out many of these pipelines, and we would probably be faced with traffic problems and how to manage these traffic problems as we replace many of our mains overtime.”
He told reporters he was sure these issues would be placed on the table at the six-day conference, which involves ministers responsible for water from across the region. The Water Authority administrator also expected top government representatives from developed countries to take part in the Barbados talks.
Lindo also revealed, that Barbados would be approaching the IDB for money to buy a number of power generators, which are critical when there is an outage at the Barbados Light & Power Company.
“Most of our supply systems are actually driven by electricity. Electricity, for example, in Barbados is supplied by overhead supply, wire supply. We have very few underground electricity running to our pump stations,” observed the senior engineer.
He contended that if there was a major disaster, such as a hurricane, there could be a power outage to many of the BWA’s stations.
“And this, in instances where there are no storage reservoirs, then you could have an outage in some areas for a long time. Our storage reservoirs for the most part, only have a capacity for holding about 24 hours supply. After 24 hours, people would be out of water,” warned Lindo. (EJ)