Residents of St Joseph have been assured that relief is under way from their long-running water woes.
The Barbados Water Authority (BWA) gave the assurance at a press conference at its Pine, St Michael headquarters shortly after some 150 resident staged a two-hour demonstration to vent their frustration over the shortages and inflated bills.
Acting Manager of Engineering Stephen Lindo explained that a dramatic reduction in yield at several pumping stations, down to a quarter million gallons a day from as high as a million gallons. This, he said, along with the recent drought, had led to demand outstripping supply.
“We have had a fall off in terms of the yield from several pump stations which supply water to these areas, and the St Joseph area is one of those areas in the higher elevations of Barbados,” Lindo said.
The water company executive said the situation on the west coast was different simply because of the desalination plant.
“Had the desalination not been there the situation would have been worse,” he said.
Lindo indicated that the BWA was in the process on commissioning a second borehole at Sweet Vale, St George which would provide another half a million gallons of water to Castle Grant for pumping to St Joseph.
However, he admitted that a well renovated at Groves, St George, which was to supply another half million gallons of water, had been abandoned due to a drop in water levels.
The BWA’s Corporate Communications Specialist Joy-Ann Haigh addressed the issue of empty water tanks, telling reporters that this was often the result of the unavailability of water trucks.
“We have a very small fleet of trucks – there are about five trucks and one super tank – and on a general day [all] may not be working. Because they are working so hard, we are having issues with the vehicles breaking down and having to have them repaired; so some days we only have two or two trucks to fill these community tanks,” Haigh said.
Meantime, in response to complaints by that they continued to receive inflated water bill despite dry taps, Haigh said the BWA was in talks with the Fair Trading Commission to decide the best way to address this issue.