Less than month after its national prohibition order took effect, the state-run Barbados Water Authority (BWA) now says it intends to relax the controversial restrictions, which have been met with strong condemnation from householders and businesses alike.
The BWA’s Manager of Engineering Charles Marville made the announcement during a public consultation with residents in St John last night at which he acknowledged that the ban on the use of water for non-essential purposes, such as irrigation and filling or supplying of tanks, had negatively affected businesses which rely heavily on water.
“General speaking, I can tell you that the relaxations would come in terms of allowing customers, . . . both residential and domestic customers, to use water efficiently, rather than not use at all,” Marville told the gathering.
“We recognize that obviously, people have their businesses based on supply of water and some businesses are very, very water intensive, so they have to use the water. But what we want to do and what we want to encourage you to do is to use water efficiently,” he added.
However, he warned that the three-month prohibition order, which took effect at the start of the month, would remain in force for such things as watering lawns.
“The grass will grow back when the rain comes, but obviously things like your hygiene, we would encourage you to use water efficient devices.
“For your businesses, if you have to do irrigation for your crops, rather than using sprinklers, we advice you to use drip irrigation or some other efficient water use device,” Marville suggested.
He also pointed out that the current supply of water remains limited, as he called on Barbadians to be more conscientious about their water use.
“We are not saying don’t use it, but use it more efficiently. That is where we are now,” he stressed.
The current three-month ban also affects the use of water for the watering of gardens, lawns and grounds, filling or supplying of ponds, baths or swimming pools, washing roadways, pavements, paths, garages, out-rooms or vehicles by hose.
The BWA official promised that over the next few weeks more would be said about the proposed ease in restrictions by way of press releases from the authority.
He also said the BWA planned to engage tourism and agriculture stakeholders, as well as fisherfolk and others, on the efficient use of the island’s water resources.
“So we can’t just turn on the pipe as we used to and let it run all day,” he said, cautioning that the current dry spell was one of the worst ever and that it was not over yet.
Today, the Chief Executive Officer of the Barbados Hotel and Tourism Association welcomed the latest announcement by the BWA, while stating that hoteliers were most concerned about restrictions placed on the use of water for filling swimming pools.
Springer is therefore looking forward to the promised ease.