The Barbados Water Authority (BWA) today revealed that it had signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Suriname company Amazone Resources (AR), which is preparing to ship two million litres of surface water next month.
In a statement clarifying reports about the arrangement, the BWA however insisted that it had not reached any agreement with the company to actually deliver water to Barbados.
Last Thursday, an article published by the Trinidad Newsday paper claimed the deal was reached with the Barbados Government since April 2015 but the BWA explained that it was the authority and not the Freundel Stuart administration that had signed the agreement earlier this month.
According to the BWA, Amazone Resources approached the authority in 2014 to participate and collaborate in investigating the feasibility of transporting freshwater from Suriname by barges that were designed in Holland and constructed in Spain to be tested.
The BWA said the MOU was only signed in October after “a prototype flex tank was deemed ready for delivery to Suriname from Spain, to barge a container of water to Barbados to test its viability.”
The BWA said the barge is expected to leave Suriname on November 22 and arrive in Barbados on November 25, 2016.
“However, it was agreed that due to a lack of existing infrastructure in Barbados for the receipt of the water, storage and pumping and the need to establish the necessary water quality standards and importation control measures, the water in the barge would not be offloaded.”
The BWA stressed that the “shipment mentioned in the Amazone Resources (AR) press release is therefore only a test run to inform future decisions relative to cost, water quality monitoring and acceptance protocols, appropriate uses of the water and design and construction of appropriate receiving and pumping infrastructure. Cost and risk assessment comparisons with the other augmentation options would also have to be done before a final decision is made”.
The BWA statement further explained that the importation of water was part of options being explored to ensure the long-term sustainability of the country’s supply.
It said this was nothing new, pointing out that following the 1997 water resources study, the authority had considered the option of importing water from Dominica “ but this was found to be more expensive than desalinated water. However this option was still deemed feasible and left open to future reviews.”
It said that two other options were being considered including desalination and treated wastewater reuse.
The BWA revealed that it had “signed a contract for the construction of one 30,000 cubic meters/day (6 million gallons a day (MGD) sea water desalination and is in advanced discussions for a second desalination plant of similar capacity as well as an expansion of the existing Ionics Desalination plant. These plants will take at least 12 months to commission. “
With respect to treated wastewater reuse the BWA said this was still under review.
“To date, a Draft Water Reuse Act and Water Reuse Concept Plan have been completed and work is ongoing in developing appropriate plumbing codes,” the statement said.