The severe water outages now plaguing parts of the island and taking a toll on animal farming, appear to have spared farmers in the northern parish of St Lucy.
While there have been many stories of woe from residents mainly in the north and east of Barbados, and while some farmers have been complaining that their animals were dying of thirst, Sunrise Chicks in Husbands, St Lucy has no such complaints.
Managing Director Anthony Spencer explained that after experiencing acute water shortages earlier this year, they decided to take matters into their own hands.
“Luckily for me, I haven’t had any problems with the water outages. I prepared myself for that. I have stored water for at least three working days and I also bought an old waterworks truck that is full of water. I haven’t even used it yet. So I didn’t have any problems with the water up to this point,” Spencer told Barbados TODAY when a team visited this afternoon.
“We had problems early in the year when we had to call the fire truck to give us water. It was very terrible then. But from May to now things have been pretty OK. . . . When the tanks go dry during the day, I can hear them, refilling during the night.”
Spencer’s farm has over 100,000 chickens and 200 pigs, in addition to turkeys and cows; therefore he requires lots of water.
It was for that reason, he said, he was utilizing every possible means to ensure there was enough of the resource to keep his business afloat.
“I have an underground tank that I was compelled to put down when I built the building. It holds about 17,000 gallons. That’s the one I usually do the cleaning with. I hear about others having serious problems, but lucky for me I haven’t been having those issues,” he stressed.
Like Sunrise Chicks, Star Chick’s Farm in Babbs, St Lucy has over 100,000 chickens on any given day.
Manager Timothy Austin said the farm was too large to be allowed to suffer from water outages.
“We have a lot of storage here. When the water does go off we have water stored because it would affect us badly if we don’t have back-up water, because I have a lot of animals here. We have over 100,000 birds at any given time, plus we have a processing plant here as well, and that alone we need water to start with,” Austin explained.
“We haven’t had much of a problem in the last month. But the amount of storage we have here I don’t always notice when the pipe is off because I don’t rely on the water [from the Barbados Water Authority] directly. I can’t afford too,” he added.
At one of the three diary farms in the parish, an employee who did not want the farm identified, said it had been difficult to cope with the outages in the beginning, but the purchase of a water tank had helped ease their plight.
“We have the tank there. Our milking starts between 3:00 or 3:30 a.m. so it would not really affect us at that kind of time. But when we start back to milk about 2:30 in the evening, that’s when we have the problems because the pressure is low or sometimes the pipe is off.
“This situation has been going on all year, but the tank helps us a lot. When the pressure is low, we turn it on and it raises the pressure a little bit,” the employee said.