Exactly one week after Minister of Water Resources
Dr David Estwick that a rapid response mechanism would be in place “ within a matter of a few days” to address water outages in some rural parishes, workmen of the Barbados Water Authority (BWA) today installed a community water tank at Horse Hill, St Joseph.
Dr David Estwick told reporters at a news briefing at the offices of the Ministry of Agriculture last week that several community storage tanks would be located in a number of parishes to allow for quick access to water supplies.
“The immediate response mechanism is in fact a system that will be put in place which is a fast track system to outages any part of the country. We plan to execute this system by introducing within the catchment area that is being serviced by a particular reservoir a series of community storage tanks into that area. These community storage tanks will be placed at particular locations within that community. The tanks will be refilled and refilled again by the various water tanks coming into the area,” Dr Estwick explained at the time.
In an interview with Barbados TODAY acting General Manager of the BWA Dr John Mwansa confirmed that the first community water tank was installed today at Horse Hill, St Joseph.
“The community water tanks can hold 2 000 gallons of potable water. We have three more to be installed this week in St Joseph and Boscobel, St Peter. There are three faucets attached to the tanks that residents can use. The idea is that the residents of Horse Hill will have access to the tank,” Dr Mwansa said.
Addressing the issue of security for the community water tanks Dr Mwansa gave residents the assurance that the BWA has secured the top of the tank so that access would not be straight forward, but warned that “you can never say that no one would try to gain access to the water.”
Over the past several months residents in Boscobel, St Peter; St Joseph and St Andrew have been experiencing frequent water outages as Barbados continued to suffer one of its longest droughts in recent times.
During last Monday’s press briefing, Dr Mwansa told reporters that in some cases reservoirs were showing a 50 per cent drop in the water level, while in other cases the drop recorded was in the region of 30 to 40 per cent.
Last weekend, meteorologists reported that during last month, Barbados experienced a 50 per cent decline in precipitation.
The water tanks are seen as a temporary measure to deal with the vexing water outages,. The Minister of Water Resources said at last week’s briefing that even though the provision of these community storage tanks could address the immediate challenges that residents faced, he believed the answer to the country’s water problems lay in the construction of desalination plants.
“Going forward I can see no long term solution given that there is a further risk to continuing reduction in precipitation overtime as a result of climate change impact. The final solution to this problem may very well be desalination. We have engaged one or two private sector interests to start looking at the specifications for salt water desalination plants appropriately placed to look at resolving these issues.”
However, he warned that it would be another two to three years before the island’s water supply is augmented through the use of sea water desalination plants.