The problem of inconsistent water supply and, in some cases, dry taps which marred this year’s Yuletide celebrations for several northern communities will not recur next Christmas.
That bold declaration came today from chairman of the Barbados Water Authority (BWA) Leodean Worrell, who revealed that plans are in the pipeline to finally resolve the challenge of maintaining consistent supply to water-scarce communities.
However, other than her guarantee of success, the outspoken BWA chairman would not give further details of the planned fix just yet.
“People have asked why we keep having these problems in the north . . . . What this [BWA] Board commits to, together with the assistance of the management, staff and union, is that by December 2019 I will not be handing out buckets on Christmas Eve in St Joseph and St Thomas and other areas,” she said at a press conference at the BWA’s Pine headquarters to launch the state-owned water company’s pension plan.
“We are working as a unit and as a team to ensure that Christmas next year will not find the parishes of St Thomas, St John, St Joseph, St Andrew and any parish in Barbados without water for Christmas,” she added.
Worrell charged that the solutions to the problem have been known for some time but had been placed on the back burner.
“The plans exist and have existed for a while but were not implemented because priorities were misplaced. We are now bringing them to the forefront. There’s going to be the press conference where we detail all of it, including the costing, but suffice to say that we are committed,” she said, while proclaiming to have delivered on every promise made since becoming BWA chairman.
“You all are yet to prove that anything I have said that we will do has not been done. We have the plans in full measure and we will have a press release for it, but we want everyone to know that what occurred will not be occurring in 2019 and you can quote me on that,” Worrell stressed.
Her position was supported by BWA General Manger Keithroy Halliday who made it clear that while the coming solutions would ensure consistent supply to water-scarce areas, the community tank programme would remain in place in case of emergencies.
“You can never really tell when situations such as burst mains and burst pipes will arise. Whenever we have the burst mains being fixed, the tanks will be in use,” he explained.
Halliday further noted that given that Barbados is prone to hurricanes and other natural disasters, the community tank programme would not become obsolete anytime soon.
“The tanks will continue, I think at least for the foreseeable future, to be a feature of our landscape, but what the chairman would have been referring to principally is the fact that we want to make sure that we have a running regular supply. We want a reliable supply of water to all residents in Barbados,” he said.
Last week, BWA Marketing Officer Yvette Harris-Griffith said the water woes experienced by some communities this Christmas was a result of low reservoir levels at the Castle Grant facility.
“Castle Grant receives water from Apes Hill and Golden Ridge reservoirs where the water levels are now too low to pump. BWA engineers are working to adjust the feed into Golden Ridge by pumping some extra water from Sweet Vale,” she explained.
According to Harris-Griffith, some St Philip and Christ Church districts also experienced low water pressure and outages, as a result of a power outage which affected the Hampton Pumping Station.
The BWA said a fleet of approximately nine water tankers and its super tanker had been deployed to assist customers in the interim.