With low rainfall continuing to impact the water levels at the Golden Ridge reservoir and resulting in severe water outages in parts of St Joseph, St Andrew and St John, the Barbados Water Authority (BWA) is now resorting to mandatory daily shutoffs in order to give the reservoir time to refill.
This revelation was made by Minister of Energy and water Resources Wilfred Abrahams during a press conference convened this morning at his Country Road office. Abrahams revealed that areas that had steady water supply will now experience outages as a result of the rationing system. He explained that the shutoffs will take place from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and 9 p.m. to 4 a.m. on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
“In an effort to ease the hardship being experienced in the affected areas, the BWA will be amending the present shut off schedule in the St George areas commencing tomorrow. We have had the prohibition period, we hear the cries of the people who are affected in the higher elevations, it is now necessary for us to start rationing water in order to fill the reservoirs that service the most affected areas. In an ideal world each reservoir will have a dedicated line from a pumping station, ensuring that they are always at capacity, but this is not the case,” said Abrahams.
He added, “For all of our reservoirs the lines going to the reservoirs are not dedicated. So, the water that we are trying to get into Castle Grant system, as it is being pumped to get into the system, the water is being pulled off from all of the districts along that line. So, when we have scarce water supply or low pressure, nothing at all is getting to the Castle Grant system. So, we are at the point where we have to do what is necessary and people who were accustomed to getting a constant water supply are going to now start to experience scheduled shutoffs.”
Residents in parts of St. Joseph, St. Andrew, St. Thomas and St. John are currently supplied with potable water from the Castle Grant system which receives its water from four sources, two at Sweet Vale, one at Golden Ridge and another at Apes Hill. The low rainfall levels that have been experienced have led to reduced groundwater levels. The reduced groundwater levels have significantly negatively impacted the water that is available for pumping, resulting in fewer pumping hours, the BWA revealed.
Approximately two million gallons of water per day (mgd) are required to supply the needs of those customers serviced by Castle Grant. The production from the four sources has decreased to 0.75 mgd leaving a deficit of 1.25 mgd, which is more than 50 per cent.
The minister explained that the problem has been compounded by the malfunctioning of two pumps. The shutoffs will continue until the replacement pumps arrive, he added..
“We commissioned the pumping station at Trents and an additional three million gallons was supposed to go into the system, but we have had an issue with pumps breaking down. These are not off-the-shelf pumps, they don’t stock these pumps, the specs are set and they have to manufacture them. We had to now order the two pumps that broke down and airfreight them in from France at a horrendous cost,” he explained. [email protected]