Good news for 13,000 families who have been held up for years awaiting the go ahead to build on lands in southern Barbados.
By next February, those lots should be able to considered for planning approval after the Town Planning Development Office had put their development on hold over the past six years because of a dearth of water infrastructure in St. Philip and Christ Church.
Minister responsible for Water Resources Management Dr David Estwick told the groundbreaking ceremony for the Barbados Water Authority’s mains water pipeline extension project at the Belle Pumping Station this morning, that the ionics project showed the most promising outcome for satisfying the water demand in those parishes.
The $30 million project, which is a joint initiative of the public and private sector, will start operating within a year.
Estwick said it would involve transferring water from the desalination plant at Spring Garden to some areas currently supplied by the Belle Pumping Station, while concomitantly transferring the equivalent amount of water from the Belle to deficient communities.
”The project we are about to undertake comprises the installation of three new pipelines totalling approximately 63,000 feet or 19 kilometres of 12 and 18 inch diameter mains respectively,” he added.
He noted that the first main starts at the Belle Pumping Station and goes to the JTC Ramsey Roundabout, also known as the Bussa Roundabout.
The second begins at Fort George Reservoir and terminates at the Searles Roundabout, while the final one originates at the Brittons Reservoir, St. Michael and ends at Providence Reservoir, Christ Church.
The Minister of Water Resources Management also announced the establishment of a lift station in the vicinity of the Graeme Hall Agricultural Station, which will assist in boosting the water to the appropriate elevations.
“Furthermore, the re-pumping station at Hanson Reservoir off Dash Valley, St George, will be revamped and will boost water to Fort George Reservoir,” Estwick pointed out.
“There are plans also,” the minister continued, “to upgrade the pumping capacity at the Belle to facilitate the transfer of additional water to the south of the island”.
He disclosed that Ionics Pipeline Incorporated, which is partnering with the BWA on the venture, has awarded contracts to three private contractors to cut the pipe tracks, while the BWA workers will install the pipes.
“In order to implement the project on time, crews have had to be down-sized to allow for the creation of crews within crews. This therefore created opportunities for persons operating as ‘second in command’, who will now take lead roles within the newly-formed crews,” stated Estwick.
“Other roles,” he revealed,”will see persons familiar with the installation of pipes being redeployed to positions of inspector with oversight responsibility for the work, hence adding to greater efficiency which is expected on this project.”
The minister said the objective of the ionics project was to improve water security in the island.
“The authority is therefore aiming to fulfil its mandate as it provides water to those areas in the parishes of Christ Church and St. Philip, which are currently deficient,” he assured.
Estwick said, too, that employment in the construction industry will be bolstered directly through the installation of the water mains, as trenches will be dug and mains laid.
“The construction industry would benefit, as the permission is granted for commercial and residential development to take place,” he submitted.