Rapid response system to combat water outages
A rapid response mechanism will be in place “within a matter of a few days” to address water outages in some rural parishes.
Several community storage tanks are to be located at a number of parishes to allow for quick access to water during outages, Minister of Agriculture, Food, Fisheries and Water Resource Management Dr David Estwick disclosed today at a briefing at the Ministry of Agriculture at Graeme Hall, Christ Church.
“We at the Ministry are saying that if everything works out as planned, some elements of the rapid response mechanism could be in place within a matter of a few days,” Dr Estwick said.
He explained that “some fabrications of specific sizes” would be sourced from Fiberpol Inc in Barbados and from Trinidad and Tobago, giving the Barbados Water Authority (BWA) the number of tankers needed “to be able to manage a particular outage at a reservoir.”
“The immediate response mechanism is in fact a system that will be put in place which is a fast track system to outages any part of the country. We plan to execute this system by introducing within the catchment area that is being serviced by a particular reservoir a series of community storage tanks into that area. These community storage tanks will be placed at particular locations within that community. The tanks will be refilled and refilled again by the various water tanks coming into the area,” Dr Estwick explained.
The St Philip West MP however told reporters that even though the provision of community storage tanks could address the immediate challenges of households, he saw the construction of desalination plants as the final solution to water outages in Barbados.
He said the advent of climate change meant there was no choice but to look to alternative sources of water.
“Going forward I can see no long term solution given that there is a further risk to continuing reduction in precipitation overtime as a result of climate change impact. The final solution to this problem may very well be desalination. We have engaged one or two private sector interests to start looking at the specifications for salt water desalination plants appropriately placed to look at resolving these issues.”
However, he warned that it would be another two to three years before the island’s water supply is augmented through the use of sea water desalination plants.
The Minister of Water Resources added that with the financial assistance offered by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and the Latin American Bank, the BWA must fix the water distribution by replacing old mains across the island.
Dr Estwick also told reporters that in an attempt to increase the volume of water available to households the reservoir at Vineyard, St Philip and the old Bulkeley Factory would be reactivated.