Minister of Water Resource Management Dr David Estwick has broken his silence on the water outages in northern and eastern parishes. And he has revealed that a plan has been agreed to bring relief to residents of the affected areas.
In an interview with Barbados TODAY this morning shortly after a meeting of the Infrastructural Committee of Cabinet, Dr Estwick announced that Government would construct two desalination plants with a capacity of six million gallons each to service the needs of the people in these parishes. Today’s meeting at Government Headquarters was attended by officials of the Barbados Water Authority (BWA), the Environment Protection Department, the Town and Country Planning Department and the Ministry of Health.
The minister did not say when work on the plants would begin, or how much they would cost. However, he said they would be located in the north of the island.
He stressed that with the Caribbean Institute of Meteorology and Hydrology predicting more frequent and intense droughts, medium to long-term solutions to the water problem must include desalination, of which mobile plants would be a part.
“The BWA is looking at the use of mobile desalination plants. These are packaged plants. However their output really cannot address the challenges that we have. The areas in the north, you are talking about reduction in reservoir capacity of well over two million gallons a day and that is tremendous.
“We are going to be building two permanent desalination plants, six million gallons each, and the mobile plants will be for temporary purposes. The mobile desalination plants will be incorporated into the permanent desalination plants. These plants will be located in the northern section of the country,” Dr Estwick said.
He gave the assurance that all was not lost in spite of the anxiety and anguish that had arisen from the water outages, revealing that there were still some aquifers that the BWA had not appropriately tapped, which would be put to use shortly.
“We also have some other options that we are finding with some significant water and aquifers that have not been fully utilized,” the Minister of Water Resource Management explained.
The St Philip West MP also disclosed that next Wednesday the BWA would commission the St Philip Augmentation Project, which will add 3.5 million gallons of water to the system, and that local contractor Ward Drilling and Potable Water Supply Inc was expected to provide him this afternoon with the “appropriate information” regarding additional solutions that will be implemented in the short, medium and long term.
Government signed a contract with Potable Water Supply Inc in September 2012 for the St Philip Augmentation Project, which Dr Estwick said at the time was meant to alleviate water shortages in St Philip and Christ Church.
He also said then, that the projected had been conceptualized three years earlier by the BWA and Potable Water Supply Inc.
The minister told Barbados TODAY that today’s meeting of the Infrastructural Committee of Cabinet looked at conservation regulations that would allow Barbadians to separate the use of potable and non-potable water.
He also announced that a committee formed from the officials present was expected to get back to the larger group in a couple of weeks with colour coding plumbing and approaches that they could manage this approach properly.
He argued that this approach to conservation would save the BWA millions of gallons of water in the island’s reservoirs.