In the wake of the recently announced water prohibition order, the Barbados Water Authority (BWA) is moving to plug a number of bothersome leaks, which are said to be costing this island millions of gallons of water per day.
BWA Chairman Dr Atlee Brathwaite made the revelation to Barbados TODAY, following at least two reports this week of water gushing uncontrollably, as a result of old, leaky mains. These came directly on the heels of a three-month crackdown on non essential use of the precious commodity by householders and businesses.
In response to calls for the BWA to address its own water waste, Brathwaite revealed that a special unit was recently established within the BWA to both identify and correct the problems.
Headed by engineer Charles Leslie, he said the unit was currently carrying out a series of tests in the north of the island, but would also be looking into problems affecting residents in St John and St Joseph, which are also listed among the most water-starved parishes in the country.
Under the project, experts from the privately-owned Water Management of the Caribbean (WMC) will also assist the BWA in carrying out an independent evaluation with a view to determining the full extent of the country’s water loss.
“Different experts have shared different views on the amount of water lost by way of leaks. Some say 40 per cent, some say 60 per cent, but it is a large amount,” said Brathwaite.
However, he pointed out that the new project “would not only be looking at mains, but making sure that valves are properly operational, and so on.”
In a separate interview yesterday, water expert Alain Pizzolato revealed that about 3,000 households in Newton and surrounding communities of Christ Church would also be tested over the next month. This equates to about 4,200 kilometres of pipe to private residents and commercial properties.
Speaking to Barbados TODAY next to the roundabout at Newton from where the testing is being done, the Frenchman, who has spent much of his life working in the area of non-revenue water detection, assured that the leak detection exercise would be conducted at minimum inconvenience to citizens.
In fact, he said there would be no need to shut off the water supply system.
“We start the flow measurement campaign to know the maximum and minimum at night and then we decide which part needs leak detection; and we do a leak detection campaign . . . to repair the leak,” the expert explained.
Pizzolato said if this pilot project was successful, it may be replicated island wide.