Chief executive officer of the Barbados Agricultural Society James Paul is anticipating relief from the parched lands across the country following the yesterday’s announcement by Minister of Agriculture Dr David Estwick of new measures to relieve acute water shortages. But Paul has suggested the authorities were overlooking a critical contributor to the island’s dwindling water supply.
“These measures will help in some way but we need a wider approach, “ Paul told Barbados TODAY.
At a news conference yesterday, Estwick announced that community water tanks would be sited in a number of parishes to allow for quick access to water during outages. He also revealed that the construction of desalination plants would be part of a long-term solution to deal with water shortages.
Paul contended that the island’s current water woes were not only the result of little rainfall this wet season. He argued that water collection areas were being wiped out by construction and as a result there was significantly less water running to the almost depleted reservoirs.
“We are seeing a situation where buildings are going up in areas in which they were collection points where water infiltrated into underground aquifers. The preponderance of concrete in these areas is something that is of concern because what we don’t understand is one of the main reasons why our aquifers are taking time to fill up is because the run off has increased.
“What we have actually done is that we have increased rainwater runoffs without providing for a rainwater collection system.”
Stressing that the responsibility of rainwater collection was not only for the individual householder, Paul urged authorities to pay greater attention to the construction of buildings particularly in areas not previously used.
He insisted that authorities must ensure developers adhere to firm regulations to ensure remaining collections areas were not eroded.
“There are wells that have not been filling up because the drainage has changed. In many cases the water now goes out to the sea and that is an issue. Our rainfall has been considerably reduced and any rainfall that we have, we have to be able to catch that rainfall and not allow it to go down to the sea.”
Paul said as the dry conditions continued farmers would have to find new strategies to facilitate the watering of crops.
He recommended that farmers would have to look at collecting and storing as much rainwater as possible.
He added that the BAS would explore the possibility of converting the large amount of waste water produced by some companies into use for the agricultural sector.