Despite some improvements, the “constant nightmare” of sporadic water outages will continue to affect residents of St Joseph well into April, the month in which the parish hosts the country’s We Gatherin’ celebrations.
But according to the Member of Parliament for that constituency, Dale Marshall, the Barbados Water Authority (BWA) is currently constructing a new main to transfer water from St Philip. Plans are also in place to construct a new reservoir in St Philip to send water to Castle Grant, St Joseph and Bowmanston in St John.
“The constant nightmare is the lack of water…I don’t think that we have a cabinet meeting in which water is not discussed in one way or another and I am not saying that to prove that I am quarreling and carrying on about water. But the truth is that we have a problem,” Marshall told a recent political meeting.
“I don’t feel good knowing that after two years we still have water challenges in St Joseph. But I feel good because I know and I received a report from the minister who has indicated to me what his plan is for dealing with the water situation…So the water authority has determined that rather than having that excess water not being used at all, they are going to build a new reservoir in St Philip and pump that excess water into our reservoir so that we can begin to solve our problems, but it isn’t going to be an easy solution,” he added
Marshall told constituents that plans to construct a desalination plant at Joe’s River have been hindered by “technical” challenges forcing officials back to the drawing board.
“The Prime Minister was very much sold on having a desalination plant constructed in Joe’s River and we believe in addition to all the other initiatives, having a desalination plant in Joe’s River to pump water uphill into St Joseph will effectively mean that we will no longer have to complain and cry about water. But there are some technical challenges that we are trying to deal with,” he disclosed.
Marshall, who is also the country’s Attorney General explained: “Once you take salt from water, you have to place the salt that you take out, back into the water. That makes perfect sense. But what you are doing right now is increasing the salinity in the area that you put the water back in, which then could have a harmful impact on our marine life. So there are things like that which we must come to grips with in order to deliver that.”
For this reason, he suggested it was time authorities seriously considered the possibility of producing salt.
“Why put it back into the water? Why not just finish the job and start producing salt?” he asked.
Refocusing his attention on his constituency’s water woes, Marshall declared that he, along with the Minister of Energy and Water Resources, Wilfred Abrahams and Prime Minister Mia Mottley remain “absolutely committed” to solving their water problems.
“So our commitment to solving the water problems of St Joseph is one that you are getting from the highest possible levels,” he declared, before admitting, “I had hoped that by the time We Gatherin’ comes around, we would have been able to resolve the issue, but I expect that we won’t and I will continue to take a few licks on Facebook and social media but I don’t mind. Solving the water problems remains absolutely vital for this constituency and I vow to you there is not a day that passes where we don’t try to address it.”