The chairman of the state-owned Barbados Water Authority (BWA) Monday warned of more streamlining to come, following the appointment of a new general manager on February 15.
Barbadian Keith-Roy Halliday officially took over the BWA’s reins last month from former acting general manager Dr John Mwansa, who is now serving in the position of advisor on water augmentation, which includes the use of desalinated water and combatting issues brought on by drought.
“We continue to depend on him [Mwansa] heavily . . . and all the staff that we have here,” BWA Chairman Dr Atlee Brathwaite said.
“We are trying to make certain that the technical [personnel] are put in areas that they can maximize their efficiency and skills, so we can enhance our productivity,” he added.
Brathwaite also revealed that Charles Leslie had been appointed director of engineering and Wayne Richards as the director of projects, as part of the restructured BWA management team headed by Halliday, a former manager at CIBC FirstCaribbean International Bank, who has been mandated to take forward the BWA’s strategic reform.
“He [Halliday] has hit the ground running. I get the impression that staff feel very comfortable interacting with him, [but] restructuring goes on,” Brathwaite told Barbados TODAY.
He also made reference to the BWA’s five-year strategic plan which is down for discussion between Halliday and other senior BWA staff by the end of this month, saying the new general manager had been asked to pay particular attention to the authority’s financial position, with a number of major investments currently in the works.
“Those investment projects are critical. They speak to the whole question of things like desalination water . . . the tackling of non-revenue water . . . he also obviously has to look at correcting problems we have with our wastewater. All these require heavy levels of investment . . . . and if you get into that level of investment, you have to ensure that you service the cost of those investments,” the BWA chairman explained.
In terms of its operational costs, Brathwaite said the BWA’s high electricity bill was particularly worrying and must be reduced, while suggesting that the use of photovoltaic technology and other renewable energy options would have to be considered.
As for the recent chronic water outages that have affected mainly residents in the north and east of the island, the BWU top official said the situation was being brought under control.
He said overall the water transmission system had improved due to various measures that had been introduced, including the purchase of new trucks and the installation of community tanks.
“So there is more reliability in the system because of the actions that we have taken over time, and that would have reduced the complaints of our customers,” the chairman said.
He also reported that significant attention was paid to staff training and customer service over the past year.
“Our customer service in terms of utilities is one of the best on the island. I have heard so from people who have been visiting our Customer Service Department and it is continuing to improve itself.
“We also have new information technology systems to ensure the customer is well serviced,” Brathwaite added.