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Off course!

Well-known social commentator and St Andrew farmer Richard Hoad has poured cold water on Government’s plan to construct two desalination plants as a long-term solution to the water woes facing the island, especially residents in some northern and eastern communities.

At a media conference last week, Minister of Agriculture and Water Resources Management Dr David Estwick promised affected residents that Government would be solving current water problems through short, medium, and long term initiatives. One of the solutions, he said, was the construction of two desalination plants in St Peter and St Lucy.

Hoad, a farmer of more than four decades who has been harvesting rainwater for use on his Turners Hall farm, told Barbados TODAY in an interview this afternoon that he did not believe desalination was the answer.  He insisted that rain water harvesting should be the primary initiative, saying it should be considered especially by farmers and hotel operators.

“People complaining that water going off every day. I don’t think we have had water for a whole day since I have been here in 1977. So I really don’t have anything original at this stage. I really want to get heavy into the use of rainwater,” said the St Andrew resident.

“What I am suggesting is rather than talking about desalination plants and what not, Government should be encouraging farmers especially to use rain water off their roofs for irrigation and for feeding their animals,” Hoad added, pointing out that farmers, especially those in animal husbandry, use a lot of water.

He argued that using rain water would take a lot of “pressure off the main supply”.  He added: “Desalination, based on what I have read, is an expensive proposition, especially if you are getting into real sea water. The plant that is presently operating at Spring Garden is not desalination. It is brackish water that they are just taking out the residual salt that is there,” said Hoad, adding, “I don’t favour desalination.”

It is believed that only about 10 per cent of rain water is currently used.

Hoad said on his farm he was able to harvest about 6,000 gallons of water from every inch of rainfall. “When you study those big tanks that they have,  it is like 600 gallons.

“You are talking about ten of them you are collecting with one inch of rain. You can get two or three inches of rain at a time,” he said. “So there is a lot of water available that is just not going back into the aquifers as it used to because they don’t clean the wells, as well as not making any efforts to stop it from going into the sea.”

Hoad also said the country could realize “obvious” savings from the use of rain water.

“The cost of pumping the water is a tremendous cost and if you can cut down on the amount of that, you obviously would save a lot if you think that people using water mainly for drinking and household use, compared to gardening and animals and everything else, including washing machines and whatever else, are big users of water,”
he explained.

“Take hotels, for instance. Hotels have massive use of water with laundry, and they have big industrial washing machines. Think if they could tap the water off their roofs and use in the laundry and swimming pools and things like that, how much they could save!” added Hoad.

7 Responses to Off course!

  1. Robert Holloway
    Robert Holloway January 19, 2016 at 2:01 am

    Rain Water for other than driinking and cooking , still need to allow for no rain days

    • Robert Holloway
      Robert Holloway January 19, 2016 at 2:52 am

      For sure I understand your view but if weather oredictions are for less rainfall in the future then some plan needs to be considered. Here we depend on rainfall which only occurs mainly from November to February and we almost ran to danger levels in our reservoirs so we built them higher , stored in two lakes and we go on level 1 restrictions regardless now in the summer.

  2. J. Payne January 19, 2016 at 5:48 am

    I keep hearing this but have to ask because I do t know for sure. Do the cruise ships coming into Barbados get loaded up with fresh water at the port? Or are they creating heir own water onboard via desal?

  3. Tony Webster January 19, 2016 at 6:11 am

    Sir Porkhoad…you cud get de commonsense medal, Grade 1, for not nusing-up any BWA-water since 1977…and letting ME get it! Thanks to you, Sir. Problem is, we are clean-out of common-sense medals!

    It’s all de fault of arithmetic, Sir: jes’ calculate, 10% of , say, $52 Million ( I jes’ pick dat number clear out of a clear , blue, sky, wid no rain-clouds around, OK?). So dat meks $5, 200,000. OK. Now calculate 10% …of nuthin ‘, whichin’ is de cost of 52 million gallons of free water. Compare these two numbers, and decide whichin’ you would choose , effin you wuz Minister of Water.

    Q.E.D. ( That whichin’ was to have been watered).

  4. Olutoye Walrond January 19, 2016 at 12:42 pm

    Wonder what old Miss. Babb at Spa Hill, St. Joseph would say about this idea of harvesting rainwater. Let’s see: she lives alone, except for a cat and is entirely dependent on her pension.

  5. Tony Webster January 19, 2016 at 1:37 pm

    @Olutoye… I really cyan speak for Mrs. Babb- or for any other suffering soul in St. Joseph – or suffering anywhere else for that matter. However, Sir Porkhoad was reported to have said that “rain water harvesting should be the primary initiative, saying it should be considered especially by farmers and hotel operators”. If Mrs.Babb is either, she should be encouraged to re-read the article. Carefully.
    I am neither farmer nor hotel operator, but we harvest 3,500 gallons in my near-by daughters home.
    N.B. Hon. minister of talking ’bout water…has not given a scintilla of a clue , what a cubic meter of water shall cost, after he has commissioned all his wonderful “solutions”

  6. jrsmith January 19, 2016 at 3:36 pm

    The most simplest of ideas , is also a big head ache , for government and the people of Barbados , ideas which was used for decades upon decades all around the world, the harvesting of rain water.. this is a end of the world thing for Barbados…


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