The Barbados Water Authority (BWA) is to borrow $50 million to carry out major upgrades, Prime Minister Mia Mottley said this evening.
Even as the COVID-19 crisis has affected an “aggressive programme” planned for the BWA, Government was still committed to getting work done, she said.
The PM told journalists: “We had hoped to be able to move on the combined problems that we face in the Water Authority and in the country with access to water at an earlier stage but we knew we had to finish the debt restructuring.
“That debt restructuring finished the end of last year and just as we were getting ready to move in to an aggressive programme both for the purchase of equipment for the Queen Elizabeth Hospital as well as for Water Authority to deal with a number of major projects, the public health disaster pandemic came.”
Mottley, who was speaking at press briefing after she and Ministers met with the Social Partners at Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre, referred to a “Vineyard project” which will bring relief to the residents of many areas affected by water woes.
She declared: “We have not stopped however, and the Director of Finance is working with the Barbados Water Authority in order to be able to ensure that can be able to borrow somewhere between $50 to $55 million dollars depending on the fine-tuning of an additional project that we are looking at.
“It will also mean that the capital works programme for expended road works that Minister Duguid and his ministry is about to execute will also take into account the laying of mains at the same time because you would surely agree with me that it makes no sense to break road, dig it up and then pave it back without putting in the mains.”
The Prime Minister said the water issue was “a matter of urgency” and assured Barbadians her administration will work with them.
She said: “We have to be able to address the water issue as a matter of urgency, we hear you we are going to work with you.
“But we also recognise we are up against a drought and a major ground water crisis that is a result of the climate change that the world is facing.
“Many of you will recall that less than two months ago, Dr [John] Mwansa gave evidence before the Budget Committee of the House of Assembly and indicated that when they went into Bowmanston that what would normally be 70 feet of water that they found less than three to four feet.”