The already troublesome water shortages in the north and east of the island are likely to get worse before they get better.
Manager of Engineering at the Barbados Water Authority (BWA) Charles Marville said last night that there was likely to be even less fresh water available in the near future because of rising salt levels in some west coast wells.
Speaking to Barbados TODAY following a town hall meeting at the Westmoreland Church of the Nazarene, Marville said Barbadians should prepare for the long haul.
“We are seeing now the wells on the west coast getting progressively saltier and we are going to have to cut back on them gradually . . . . It’s going to be a little longer haul than we anticipated because remember the water that we are pumping now would have fallen last year and we had no [rain] in the latter part of last year up to now. So even if [rain] fell now, it would still be a while before it relieves the problem. So we are going to be in this position for a lot longer,” Marville explained.
To complicate matters, the BWA executive explained that the water company was experiencing “a major shortage of tankers” but that eight had been ordered and were due to begin arriving by June.
In the meantime, Marville appealed to Barbadians to limit their use of water to help ease the problem.
“I would like us to be conscious of the water we are wasting – not use of water but how we use it. If we are conscious of the water we would use it wisely.
“Be conscious of the water running all the time, we should cut it out. A number of people have started to do it but I would like it to catch on more. As a country, per capita, we use a lot of water and we need to be using less. I’m of the view that the opportunity is there to reduce the amount of water we are using so we have enough to go around,” he said.
During the town hall meeting residents complained that the BWA had been doing a poor job communicating with consumers.
Marville told Barbados TODAY the company had been trying its best and would continue to do all it could to update residents and respond to their calls in a timelier manner.
“We are doing town hall meetings, we are doing call-in programmes, things with DEOs [district emergency organizations] all over the island. There are some things we can’t fix in terms of letting you know. If a main burst and we are not aware we can’t do anything about it but if there are planned outages, we do let our customers know. We broadcast it over the media. What we are trying to do now is expand that and do it via social media,” he said.