With swimming pools to be filled across several hotels and villas, the hotel industry is “seriously concerned” by the Barbados Water Authority’s (BWA) drought restrictions.
Now the Barbados Hotel and Tourism Association (BHTA) is seeking an audience with the BWA and Minister of Water Resources Wilfred Abrahams who issued the ministerial statement on the activation of the plan close to two weeks ago, to discuss a possible carve-out from the ban.
But with hoteliers considered among the heaviest users of water, and given their need to refill their pools, BHTA chairman Stephen Austin said: “I believe that in the hotel sector we should have some sort of consideration with regards to filling of swimming pools. It is just topping up of swimming pools really that we are talking about.
“If the levels are lowered the pumps wouldn’t work and that could destroy the pumps as well. So we need to be sure that we have clear communication from the authorities on how we address our challenges that we face in the tourism sector.”
The prohibitions, which went into effect at the beginning of this month to last until August and with the provision to extend if necessary, forbids anyone from watering gardens, lawns or grounds, filling tanks, baths and swimming pools, washing of roadways, pavements or vehicles.
Anyone who fails to comply with this regulation is liable to a fine of $500, and failing to make payment, one month in jail.
Said Austin about the ban: “This is a serious concern for Barbados and especially the tourism industry and we will have to do all possible to assist our members in conserving water and managing this very important resource.”
The BHTA official raised a number of questions, even as he asked if the time had come for hoteliers to install their own small desalination plants.
He said: “Are we maximizing the current desalination plant and should Government be seeking to implement more desalination plants?
“When will a comprehensive plan be put in place for better water management and improvement to mains and the pipe network in Barbados?
“These are some of the questions that need to be answered as we have to provide water to all Barbadians and visitors.”
The ongoing drought has also affected farming, with crop and livestock farmers reporting that they have been struggling to cope, and warning that some crops could become scarce, leading to higher prices.