New water plan before Cabinet

Minister says problem of squatting will be addressed

A comprehensive revised plan is now before Cabinet, designed to protect this island’s critical drinking water from contamination and abuse.

News of the plan came this morning from Minister of Water Resources Management Dr David Estwick while speaking to reporters at the end of an extensive tour of the new headquarters of the Barbados Water Authority (BWA), currently under construction at the Pine, St Michael.

Dr Estwick said Cabinet and at least two of its sub-committees had looked at the proposal from the BWA’S management for a comprehensive review of the country’s water zoning policy.

“That new zoning policy . . . reestablishes a modern platform for protecting our groundwater and it also estabishes some variables in regards to how we may very well deal with surface water and how we may very well utilize surface water for irrigation and some other dynamics that we are working with EPD [Environmental Protection Department],” the minister added.

The future home of the Barbados Water Authority under construction at The Pine, St Michael.
The future home of the Barbados Water Authority under construction at The Pine, St Michael.

“I know the broad variables of it essentially allows for the establishment of certain exclusion zones around where water is pumped in Barbados and certain types of activities are prevented from occurring in those areas, and other areas,” Dr Estwick stated.

“One would apply the appropriate technologies in regards to the development that would be allowed by the Water Authority, and EPD and Town and Country Planning in regards to all the other areas that are considered zoned.”

The Cabinet minister pointed out that the old Zone One was now reclassified as “Zone A” and “Zone B” and that Zone A was now the exclusion zone.

“What is Zone B, which was part of the old Zone One development may be permitted, but permitted with certain technologies applied to allow for that development not to impact on the aquifers.”

However, Estwick gave the assurance that those variables were being worked out now.

“So that, we are not in a position to tell you how it would impact specificially some areas where squatters may very well exist. That has to be worked out, and then Cabinet will have to take those decisions based on the advice from the Barbados Water Authority,” informed the minister.

Water supplied by the BWA is pumped from wells within natural coral aquifers. The geology of Barbados is mostly composed of karstlimestone, which acts as a filter medium within the aquifers.  The records show that while  the water service in Barbados is reliable and the supply safe and refreshing to drink, and that the source is naturally of high quality, the BWA still treats the potable water supply with chlorine to comply with World Health Organisation (WHO) standards.

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