Bruised over a debt battle with a construction firm leading to the yanking of community water tanks, the Barbados Water Authority (BWA) says it’s capable and has all the equipment needed to run the reservoir project.
BWA chairman, Leodeane Worrell, has made it clear that tanks recently donated by corporate Barbados will be set up and properly maintained in-house. The announcement comes as a private-public-partnership between BWA and Innotech soured, when the equipment rental company allegedly removed the tanks leased to the state-owned water company over mounting debt.
Speaking to Barbados TODAY this morning following the replacement of one such community tank at Horse Hill, St Joseph, Worrell contended that there was no need for the contract with Innotech as the BWA never lacked the expertise nor the manpower to do the job. Worrell claimed that BWA staff had to sanitize the tanks while the contract with Innotech was still in place.
“The staff and workers of the Barbados Water Authority were equipped and are equipped to do this exact job. For some reason the previous board determined that it had to be contracted out at a ridiculous rate, the net result of which is that we would have spent $28,000 per tank over five years and in the end we still did own the tank. There were times when the tanks were not being sanitized by the contractor and the BWA did it,” said Worrell.
Following the donation of more than 100 tanks, the BWA mounted 18 concrete slabs over the last weekend alone. The team has also installed six of the tanks with plans to restore all of the community tanks in water-scarce communities by the start of next year.
Worrell contends that this level of work output is testimony to the BWA’s capabilities of handling the project. “These workers could have always done the work and they proved that over the weekend. They built 18 concrete stands, they put up the plumbing and they put up the tanks. We have the skill set in house,” she said.
In the meantime BWA General Manager Keithroy Halliday revealed that the days of water scarce communities depending solely on the tanks would soon come to an end.
Halliday that the water company was on the cusp of bringing two temporary pumping stations on stream, which will result in these communities having fewer outages.
“The BWA will not only ensure that the tanks are maintained but we can ensure that we augment the water supply. So for instances we are fabricating a container booster that will be installed at Bushy Park and that will allow for additional supply of water into St John and St Joseph. In addition, Ionics [private water treatment plant] is going up to 150 per cent expansion and that in conjunction with an additional booster at Trents will be able to bring water up to Lancaster,” said Halliday, who revealed that the additional solutions will come on stream by the end of January 2019.