Try the Bermuda water method – Comissiong

Water officials here have been advised to adopt the Bermuda model as a means of alleviating the chronic water shortages that face the nation.

Barbados is classified by the United Nations Commission on Water as a “water scarce” country, placing it slightly ahead of the desert nations of the Middle East in terms of availability per capita. And nowhere has this been more evident in recent months than in some northern and eastern districts, including communities in St Andrew, St Joseph, St Peter, St Lucy and St John, where residents have been thirsting for reliable running water.

The Barbados Water Authority (BWA) recently announced it had begun drilling boreholes in Sweet Vale, St George and had been working with a private entity to develop a new feed at Groves, St Philip, to provide an additional three million gallons of water to supplement the supply to St Philip, Christ Church, St John, St Andrew and St Joseph.

However, social activist David Comissiong has recommended that the authorities follow Bermuda’s example where homeowners are required by law to harvest water for their use.

“I have often wondered why we in Barbados have not adopted the techniques that have been deployed in Bermuda to deal with their water shortage programme,” Comissiong told Barbados TODAY in an interview on the current water situation and plans by Member of Parliament for St Joseph Dale Marshall to organize a demonstration outside the new $63 million BWA headquarters.

“Anybody who has visited Bermuda would know that the roofs of all the houses, 100 per cent of the houses in Bermuda are by law required to be painted in a limestone based white paint and to be equipped with water catchment tanks into which all rainwater that runs off the roof is deposited. One wonders why Barbados has not sought to adopt a similar methodology.”

The activist further suggested that Barbados seek to access grant funding available under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

Comissiong also took the Freundel Stuart administration to task over the BWA headquarters, arguing that “our scarce financial resources” ought to be directed towards finding new water sources.

“If you know that you do not have an abundance of capital resources what is a priority? Is the construction of a building a priority, or an investment in boreholes to access new sources of underground water the priority? I would think that the latter would be the priority,” he insisted.

The Clement Payne Movement founder, who promised to support the Marshall-organized demonstration, argued that development was not about the construction of fancy buildings and “white elephant structures”, but the careful management of scarce financial resources to address people’s basic needs.

This was something the country’s first Prime Minister Errol Barrow recognized, but was lacking among today’s political class, he contended.

“There needs to be a change in the thinking of the political administration. We need to understand that prestige buildings and structures are not a priority. Barbadian people are hurting in many areas. There are many human needs that are not being addressed and therefore this should be the priority now of Government policy. We can do without the trimmings and extravagance at a time when the people are suffering,” Comissiong stressed.

13 Responses to Try the Bermuda water method – Comissiong

  1. e.j.d January 9, 2016 at 8:08 am

    But isn’t that policy already in use here?

  2. Sydney Maynard January 9, 2016 at 8:24 am

    Totally agree. This subject has been swept under the rug and not brought to public attention enough. We need to be pro-active when it comes to water access. Question?–How do you paint the roof in limestone? Also, there should be a class for the public in how to save water the Bermuda way. How much would it cost per household?

  3. Wade Gibbons
    Wade Gibbons January 9, 2016 at 8:50 am

    david actually making sense.

    • Olutoye Walrond January 10, 2016 at 3:26 pm

      David always makes sense, but our lack of perception and vision sometimes prevents us from recognising it.

  4. Jack de ripper January 9, 2016 at 11:02 am

    David actually half make sense because Bermuda homes he refers to are 99.99% brick. I am not sure how you’re going to pull it off with the amount of wooden house on the island. They cannot accommodate what is required for that system as it is more to it than just paint. All the other houses are not going to foot the expense to rip their roof off and replace it. There is already a requirement to have tank for house plans submitted so rain water is being used already although not as widely.

  5. LeRoi P.D. Goodridge January 9, 2016 at 11:11 am

    This is the same recommendation I made and it was not taken seriously. We NEED to harvest rain water as a community, the only this is, I don’t believe we should wait on the government to take action on such. They are multiple benefits to be derived from rain water harvesting, so I say, let us as a people Not wait on the government, let us take the bull by the horns and start harvesting rain water for use in and around the home.

  6. LeRoi P.D. Goodridge January 9, 2016 at 11:14 am

    To Barbados Today. Feel free to contact me for more info on this topic of rain water harvesting as what I have to share is too much for me to type at this time. 830-8366

  7. Richard January 9, 2016 at 4:53 pm

    What about more desalination. We are surrounded by an abundance of salt water. What about solar distillation? David is correct though we need a government that knows how to prioritize our needs vs their wants. Actually what we need is a citizenry that asks our government to prioritize our needs vs their wants. A world class hospital, garbage trucks that work, abundant water, free university tuition, a budget surplus within a 15% vat tax structure etc.

  8. Maya Trotz January 9, 2016 at 8:26 pm

    New houses over a certain size are already required to install rainwater harvesting systems in Barbados. Three years ago I was at interesting seminar at UWI where there was a discussion going on about these tanks/cisterns as breeding grounds for mosquitoes – PAHO and a UWI lecturer were kind of knocking the requirement. Dr. Mwansa from the BWA spoke up about the requirement for the cisterns, but no enforcement to ensure they were being used or maintained properly. Think the BWA would be an extremely innovative utility if they figured out how to integrate personal rainwater harvesting into their portfolio – monitoring and maintenance and maybe even installation. The cost to pump treated water to many places in Barbados is more than the price paid by an individual for water!

    This video is on rainwater harvesting by a BWA employee. There are champions amongst us.

  9. Alvan Nicholls January 9, 2016 at 8:59 pm

    Why not talk to the Singapore Government. They have done a remarkable and modern state of the art desalination system to produce fresh drinking water from the sea.

    Perhaps they may want to invest in the projects(s)

  10. Alvan Nicholls January 10, 2016 at 8:02 pm

    What an enterprising and engaging young man. He has success written all over him. Barbados’ BWA is in good hands.

  11. jrsmith January 12, 2016 at 1:56 pm

    We are so educated and ,we must feed off other people ,as is we are a bunch of fools…not able to use all this CV brain power…people with no motivation, no logical brain , no forward thinking, no real trying to see the light at the end of the tunnel…
    Rain water harvesting is nothing new to Barbados, nothing fantastically technical about it , just basic common sense. Which bajans seems not to display, from all this education…

    But then ,the region ,you see the sad vision of the politicians and the educated fools, as to where its taking us, islands with water pouring from rocks, small rivers and is always short of water themselves.. we are waiting on a Caucasian European or American , Canadian to tell us , which foot to step of on….

  12. Wayne Collymore-Taylor February 5, 2016 at 6:31 pm

    The new edifice at the Commercial Estate in the Pine, which is called the Barbados Water Authority Headquarters justifies its construction in the first place. There are few Utility Companies in Barbados that have all of its Department under one Central Location. Some of these Departments are not scattered as before. Therefore the amalgamation of all these different Departments can only serve to be managed more effectively. Further to this, the SCADA system and the information technological infrastructure
    will be in a better position to manage its scientific DATABASE more expeditiously and efficiently.


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