There appears to be no immediate end in sight to the water problems affecting residents in the north of Barbados, despite Government’s recently announced plan for curing these persistent woes.
When a Barbados TODAY team visited St Peter yesterday, it appeared as though the outages, which had been plaguing Boscobel and surrounding districts in recent months had shifted to Mount Brevitor and Benn Hill where residents complained that they had been without running water for at least four days last week.
By 6 p.m. Sunday there was a reported ease in the situation as some residents told our team water was slowly flowing through their taps.
However, residents who spoke to Barbados TODAY were concerned that the water outages had actually reached their district.
“We are not used to water outages in this district,” said one resident, who confirmed that he had been without running water in his home since Thursday.
However, both he and Birchmore Scantlebury of East Wing, Mount Brevitor were complimentary of the efforts of Barbados Water Authority (BWA) employees, such as Irvine Mosely, who they said had been going beyond the call of duty to supply them with water during the outage period.
At Brevitor Hall, a resident who only gave his name as Dennis, was seen hand-washing his clothes in a large tub on his lawn. He said he was forced to do so because he could not use his washing machine in the absence of tap water.
Mark Alkins of Spring Road also said he had been without water for “three to four days”, while his neighbour Trevor Nicholls complained that the water he had received was a bit “cloudy”; therefore he was awaiting the arrival of another BWA tender.
It was around 4 p.m. yesterday when relief finally arrived to the shouts of, “stop here, stop here, we need water”.
Anxious residents descended on the BWA vehicle, armed with every utensil possible, including pep bottles, buckets, jars and tubs for collection of the precious commodity.
Describing the situation as “unfortunate”, Democratic Labour Party (DLP) St Peter hopeful Dave Cumberbatch told Barbados TODAY his “heart goes out” to residents of the northern parish, particularly those in Mount Brevitor, who have been most recently affected.
However, he acknowledged that it could take some time for Government to fully correct the situation, given recent low rainfall and a problem of broken water mains, some of which were 50 years old.
“It is unfortunate that the people of Mt Brevitor are experiencing water outages at this stage. My heart goes out to them however, it must be said that probably the greater part of Barbados is experiencing water problems at this stage,” said Cumberbatch, who acknowledged that the Dr David Estwick-led Ministry of Water Resource Management was aware of the situation.
In light of Estwick’s recent announcement that two desalination plants would be constructed in the north of the island and that Government would take other steps to ameliorate the water challenges in both the short and medium term, Cumberbatch also said the ruling DLP administration was “making every effort to remedy the situation in Mt Brevitor”.
However, his political opponent Colin Jordan of the Opposition Barbados Labour Party was critical of the BWA’s response to the recent water shortages, in particular how it was handling its communication with affected residents.
“We need to return to public service announcements on the importance of water conservation in a water-scarce Barbados,” said Jordan, who also believes that residents should be kept abreast of drops in the water level in reservoirs.
He said while BWA management may not have the time to communicate with the public every time there was a broken main, it was important for them to understand that water outages, particularly on weekends, significantly inconvenienced parents who had to do laundry for their children.