The Barbados Water Authority (BWA) is turning to the public for help in clamping down on illegal water connections, which continue to pose a huge problem for the island’s sole water company.
Jaime Paul, hydrogeologist at BWA, told Barbados TODAY that the problem, which mostly occurred in zone one areas, was “a lot bigger” than the company would like to admit, adding that one of the main ways to solve it was through people making reports.
“There are people who have these connections and they don’t have a meter and they won’t be paying a water bill. So if you know that your next door neighbour has this illegal connection and they are not paying any bill you are actually paying for them.
“You are paying your bill every month, making sure that you are paying on time and they are not paying anything. So we would like the public to look out for these things and come in and say something about it, because it’s everybody’s responsibility to protect the water resource,” she said.
She also disclosed that while the problem was a headache for the authority, they also faced a situation where plumbers were aiding in the illegal act.
“We have a situation where persons would get plumbers to come in and take a connection off the Barbados Water Authority’s main and send it to a person’s home and they wouldn’t have a connection, they wouldn’t have a meter and we wouldn’t have a record of it.”
Speaking during BWA’s annual World Water Day showcase in Independence Square, The City, this morning, Paul also reminded that BWA’s meter replacement programme had started where approximately 1,000 commercial meters have been installed while the installation of those in residential areas should be starting soon.
She said that while some customers questioned the new meters, they could be assured that the measuring instruments were safe and were designed to accurately measure water usage.
“So those who may have had meters that are old and would have been registering incorrectly, now you are going to have accurate registering.
“Every drop of water you use will be monitored [and] will be accounted for. We have newer things to put out there and it’s about looking at making the company more efficient and not just about going along with whatever there is now.
“We have to make sure we can find ways to save money. We have to make sure that we can find ways to make sure the public is saving their money so we are not over charging you or we are not under charging you and that is a situation we have going on right now,” she explained.
During the day’s showcase, operations of the BWA were on display, including distribution, operations and maintenance, customer service
and project execution unit.
Patrons were also offered the opportunity to learn how to read and test their meters.