Water ban


The Barbados Water Authority (BWA) today announced a temporary ban on the use of water for a wide range of activities including watering of gardens, lawns and grounds.

Wilfred Abrahams & James Paul
Wilfred Abrahams & James Paul

And unless the rain begins to fall soon, the BWA is likely to begin rationing water, the state agency said.

The water company imposed the three-month ban under Section 14 (1) of the Barbados Water Authority (Water Services) Regulations, 1982 because of the “one in a century” drought now affecting the country.

The prohibition, which goes into effect on Tuesday, also bars people from filling or supplying tanks, ponds, baths or swimming pools other than dipping tanks for cattle, domestic baths not exceeding 120 litres in capacity and elevated reserve tanks not exceeding 800 litres. The elevated tanks must be connected to household sewerage or water supply systems.

The washing of roadways, pavements, paths, garages, out-rooms and vehicles by hose is also forbidden.

“While this prohibition is in effect, no person shall use or cause or permit to be used, for any prohibited purpose, any water supplied by, or obtained from the pipes of the Barbados Water Authority,” said the notice.

It also warned the public that it was an offence to contravene the ban, the consequences of which was a fine of $500 or one month imprisonment on default of payment.

Manager of Engineering Charles Marvell told Barbados TODAY this afternoon if the rains did not come soon the BWA would have to implement even harsher measures such as rationing.

“We are hoping not, but it is possible,” Marvell said. Asked what were the options, he replied: “I don’t want to say, but there are other things that are available . . . but we don’t want to say at this point in time. But it could get worse, but we are praying that it doesn’t.”

Pressed further as to whether water rationing was an option, the manager of engineering said: “We have not gotten there yet, but that is also a possibility . . . . We need rain.”

“We are in a drought,” he continued, “and it has affected our ability to supply and it continues to affect our ability to supply.”

Responding to the ban, Chief Executive Officer of the Barbados Agricultural Society (BAS) James Paul told Barbados TODAY production in the crucial agricultural sector would be seriously affected.

“I can tell you it is going to have an impact on local agricultural production. If you are saying you cannot water the crops, it would have some implications. I would have to have discussions with the persons at the Barbados Water Authority,” Paul said.

The BAS chief executive added that his organization and the farming community would have to seriously consider water harvesting.

“There are some other areas, though, we are going to try to see if we can look at. We must also mention the fact that there are certain enterprises that do give off ground water that we are not utilizing. What we can say from this is that we will be looking to see how we can get the tank at our disposal so that any water that anyone disposes that can be considered ground water, we can use as irrigation,” the BAS chief noted.

The ban did not go down well with Opposition Senator Wilfred Abrahams who described today’s announcement as “disingenuous” and a knee-jerk reaction which was impractical in its application.

“I find it a bit disingenuous at this point in time that the Government should be cracking down on water usage. While I understand the need for conservation of water, it makes no sense that we are trying to apply the standards in a 1982 piece of legislation in the reality of 2016.

“In particular, it is distressing that no thought [was given] as to what is going to happen to farmers. So what? A man who has an agricultural holding, that earns his living by the cultivation of crops can no longer water those crops?”

The Opposition parliamentarian said he was concerned that farmers could lose entire fields, placing their livelihoods at risk.

He also suggested that the water problem was more serious than Government had been admitting.

“The Government needs to come clean with the people as to the extent of the problem we are facing and what is necessary to deal with it. It makes no sense just drop very rash prohibitions on people that have not been implement for over 25 years,” he contended, adding that the Freundel Stuart administration must develop a comprehensive water management policy for the island.   He also recommended a review of the 1982 Act to bring it in line with current realities.


5 Responses to Water ban

  1. Tony Webster February 27, 2016 at 5:42 am

    God, please send some rain. I cannot agree that B.W.A is in charge of rain. B.W.A, IS, however, in charge of leaking pipes, and bears sole responsibility for ensuring that this country’s requirements for water, ie, adequate , releiable supplies at a reasonable cost…are indeed met!!!

    The Relevant Minister must be held to account for some form of contingency planning, even if this invlolves shipping in water for the QEH , Airport etc, Has a ship been lined up, to do some shuttling between here and Roseau?

    One would hope, if there is a God in Heaven, that Relevant – even Irrelevant ones- have by now apprecitaed that water is not merely a necessity…but a really , really, hot potato.

    VOTE POTATO PARTY next time around! VOTE WEBBY.

  2. Natassja February 27, 2016 at 9:30 am

    What about people who are renovating or building?

  3. jrsmith February 27, 2016 at 11:03 am

    Politicians are the ones to be blame for the general of Barbados.
    The rain or climate is just an excuse our lazy ass politicians decade after decade ignored the infrastructure of Barbados which is falling a part. The water problems should have been picked up 30 years ago with effective upgrading 25 years ago .

    None of our clever bajans especially the so call ministers never see beyond they noses to recognize, the old water system need to be upgrade and system replenished, because of the new buildings which were coming on stream day after day taking water from the system, they like talking figures to hide the problem but they couldn’t work out our old reservoirs were not coping with the overload.. as more homes businesses and hotels were coming on stream. And the bad management , which allowed the burst pipes leaking all over the island, wasting water.

    We are waiting for rain and when the rain comes lots of us are going to be flooded out ???? why, because , the water have no place to go, again because of all the new constructions , but also we have no proper storm drainage ,but silly old wells which could be more than 50 years old.. we are still living on all our yesterdays .. Until we find the right people the proper engineers we are all going to be with out water, there is technology out there to detect burst pipes mains and satellite imaging to detect under water streams and wells..

  4. waterman14 February 27, 2016 at 3:54 pm

    Barbados is heading for a Water Crisis. The Manager of the Barbados Water Authority (BWA) Dr. John Mwansa has indicated that the BWA had two choices. I think that the BWA has two additional choices: 1. The BWA manager should start calling on churches country wide to pray for rain to fall; 2. Implement my recommendations of several months ago to the BWA. Good Luck!! http://www.njgeology.org

  5. Bajangranny February 28, 2016 at 8:34 am

    The present water shortage disaster is partly due to a drought but also to mismanagement by the BWA over the years.

    Why is the BWA still taking 48 hours to respond to numerous reports of a burst main spewing hundreds of gallons of water on to the road? This happened only two weeks ago in the main road leading to our development!


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