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Utmost urgency

BWA taking water situation seriously, assures Mwansa

Faced with a wave of criticism over its handling of the ongoing water shortages in the country, the Barbados Water Authority (BWA) is assuring Barbadians that it is treating the problem with “utmost urgency”.

Just yesterday, Opposition Leader Mia Mottley said the current water problem was a national emergency and should be treated as such, while noted political scientist Dr George Belle today described the situation as a problem of national proportions.

BWA Acting General Manager Dr John Mwansa is making it clear the state-run waterworks agency was not sleeping on the job.

John Mwansa

John Mwansa

As a matter of fact, he told Barbados TODAY this afternoon the search for solutions was the company’s top priority.

“We are treating it with the utmost urgency in terms of trying to provide solutions to the problem,” Mwansa said.

He repeated previously announced short-term measures, including the commissioning of a borehole at Sweet Vale, St George to supplement supplies in the Castle Grant system, the replacement of faulty equipment and improvements to the tanker emergency service.

The BWA boss also mentioned the pending deployment of four additional tankers currently awaiting clearance at the Bridgetown Port, but which he said were expected to be pressed into service by early next week at the latest.

“They [the new tankers] would help tremendously in terms of the frequency of being able to replenish the community tanks and also the areas that can be covered,” the water company boss said.

He acknowledged that the tankers presently in operation were not enough to cover the affected communities, particularly in light of the widespread outages.

“[We are] doing the best we can with the numbers [of tankers] we have. Of course, you could always improve. But when you look at the extent of the outages . . . the limited number of tankers we have, obviously without it some areas are not receiving water for prolonged periods of time,” Mwansa stressed.

He said the borehole at Sweet Vale would begin operating in about two weeks and would add another half million gallons of water per day to the Castle Grant system, improving the water supply to St Joseph residents.

“Normally we would pump 1.3 million gallons from Golden Ridge to Castle Grant. So with this new system we will put into place, we would be in a position to pump one million gallons towards Castle Grant, which is still a shortfall of point-three million gallons, but it would be a substantial improvement,” the Acting General Manager revealed.

Mwansa told Barbados TODAY the areas giving his department the greatest challenge were St Joseph and one area along Highway 2A that included the communities between
St Silas and Orange Hill, St James and Mount Brevitor, St Peter.

He disclosed that the rain which then Tropical Storm Matthew dumped on the country last week only helped the Bowmanston Station in St John because its system of pumping water was connected to the surface.

“So that water would get to Bowmanston well a little quicker than the standard ground water system across the island,” he stated, making it clear that unless there was a lot more rain the situation was not likely to return to normality anytime soon.

Asked what his greatest concern was, the BWA boss replied: “The biggest concern is essentially getting enough rain to replenish our wells and being able to put temporary solutions into place to mitigate the current outages.”

He said long-term plans to fix the problem included replacing the age-old mains, augmenting supplies through desalination and any other available options.

emmanueljoseph@barbadostoday.bb

11 Responses to Utmost urgency

  1. Sheldine Dyall
    Sheldine Dyall October 7, 2016 at 6:15 am

    Dig catchment wells. These are have rain fall

    Reply
  2. Hal Austin October 7, 2016 at 6:20 am

    Heads must roll. This is incompetence beyond anything Barbados has ever known. The minister and permanent secretary must also go.

    Reply
  3. Adrian Reid
    Adrian Reid October 7, 2016 at 6:46 am

    The BWA needs me up there to run they fleet of trucks ,first I will have to bring in drivers how in this world they can’t service the people ,I seeing the whole system up at BWA faulty from the top to the bottom every house should have water so it means the tankers would have to be out early on mornings and evenings when people at home and during the day full the tanks how hard is that to do?

    Reply
  4. Adrian Reid
    Adrian Reid October 7, 2016 at 6:50 am

    I just showing people how them robbing we the tax payers ,they buying more trucks when really they need a change of management and the lower end of staff needs motivation and stop letting politics get in the way of serving the people

    Reply
  5. Tony Webster October 7, 2016 at 8:48 am

    @Hal Austin. Agreed. Question is, who would replace Very- Honourable-and-relevant-Minister Estwick? Freundel? Kelly? Dr, the Honourable Low-Down-and-out? Where would we put said Estwick? New Minister of Infrastural Resurections? Ministry Of Energetic Talking? Ministry of Arabic and Mandarin Studies?

    Reply
  6. jrsmith October 7, 2016 at 11:52 am

    All be put on a special rocket sending them off to mars….

    Reply
  7. Hal Austin October 7, 2016 at 12:39 pm

    Tony, call a general election. Let the people decide.

    Reply
  8. John Everatt October 7, 2016 at 7:27 pm

    BWA Acting General Manager Dr John Mwansa is quoted in this article as saying that there are four (4) water tankers waiting in the port for clearance however David Estwick is quoted as saying there are eight (8) new water tankers in the port waiting for clearance. Just wondering is it 4 or 8. That makes a big difference.

    Reply
  9. eddy murray October 8, 2016 at 12:42 pm

    I feel the PM should have send the pitbull on sick leave like, the doctors did Lowe so the MOF could get things rolling.
    Next they should go to Haggette yard in St. Andrew an pump water from a well down there.

    Reply

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