We often forget to say thank you or give praise when it is most due.
So today, we want to say a big thank you and a job well done to the workers of the Barbados Water Authority for their quick fix of the 16-inch burst main discovered at Fairview, Christ Church – the cause of much distress for residents across sections of St Philip and Christ Church in recent days.
On Monday evening, when officials found a huge swamp while conducting distribution checks near Fairview, early notice was served that communities served by the Hampton Pumping Station would experience water outages for an indefinite period given the amount of work needed in challenging conditions.
BWA General Manager Keithroy Halliday estimated that clearing the bushy area and pumping off the water surrounding the leaking pipeline alone would take at least 12 hours. The workers got down to business around 4:30 p.m. on Monday and continued through the night into the morning.
And even as most were bracing for the inconvenience of dry taps, the BWA declared the problem fixed by 4 p.m. Tuesday.
The workers sacrificed their time and stepped up to the crease to get the job done in record time.
It was an impressive and reassuring display of sacrifice, hard work and efficiency. While the loss of millions of gallons of water was disturbing and the disruption of water service inconvenient, what we got to see were public workers and officials at their best.
This new and improving performance from the state-owned utility does not escape our attention.
Earlier this month, the BWA was able to report that it had repaired 6,000 burst mains in seven weeks.
According to Director of Engineering Charles Leslie, there were actually 11,000 complaints in the system for the 6,000 problems the teams were able to fix.
But the real success of this initiative was the fact that it was the workers’ idea. Minister of Water Resources Wilfred Abrahams was full of praises for the collaboration between management, staff and the Barbados Workers’ Union.
The minister said: “We as management decided to take a hands-off approach and we are exceedingly happy with the results that we have achieved.
“I hope that this could be a template going forward for arrangements for cooperative working within a statutory corporation and for companies in Barbados.
“It is no longer a case of us against them; we are all one team and the aim of the Barbados Water Authority is to deliver safe efficient potable water to all of its customers and we can’t do it by ourselves, all departments must pull together and this is our success story.”
Back in January, we also learned that the BWA and the Barbados Workers’ Union have been working closely to broker a new deal that will usher in any five-out-of seven-days workweek policy for employees.
And again, this was an initiative of the workers to help improve the authority’s efficiency.
BWU General Secretary Senator Toni Moore said: “It is very significant at this time… that the public understands that this particular issue was not a management directive coming to the workers of the Barbados Water Authority, but it was one that was proposed by them and presented to the board and management of the BWA since 2013.”
No doubt the BWA workers deserve applause.
And we accept there are other areas of the BWA’s operations in need of improvement but this suggests the authority is certainly on the right foot, and over time we expect more gains.
This new work ethic will stand the BWA well as the island prepares to endure harsh drought conditions in the months ahead.
The public will expect that this proactive, efficient approach be maintained especially when the pressure is on.
But for now, well done, BWA.