The island’s potable water and wastewater systems are set for major upgrades under a project designed to remedy ongoing water issues.
The Barbados Water Infrastructure Rehabilitation Project, being undertaken by the Barbados Water Authority (BWA), has been made possible through financial assistance from the European Investment Bank (EIB), and the Latin American Development Bank (CAF) in the form of a loan agreement.
Delivering the feature address at the project’s launch on the compound of the Bowmanston Pumping Station in St. John, Minister of Energy and Water Resources, Wilfred Abrahams, said the main objective was “to reduce and control unaccounted for water losses”, through the rehabilitation and optimization of existing storage, pumping and pipework infrastructure.
It also includes long term planning to improve climate change resilience and sustainability, over a four-year period.
He further explained that the project was broken down into three components. “Under the pre-investment component, the development of a masterplan would facilitate the Government of Barbados in the provision of a road map to determine the suitability of the water and sanitation sectors, which will take the changing climate conditions into account.”
The second component would be that of investment works, which would focus on improving service to the utility service provider’s more than 82,000 customers.
“All of this would be accomplished through the repair and construction of storage tanks and provision of additional equipment at reservoirs and pumping stations at 12 locations across Barbados,” the Minister announced.
He continued: “In order to improve the quality of delivery of potable and non-potable water areas, the project will introduce additional upgrades to equipment at both wastewater treatment plants, as well as the implementation of a turbidity control system at Bowmanston, which should also facilitate a direct reduction in the shutdowns required during heavy rainfall events.”
Additionally, 16 kilometres of mains are to be replaced in St. John, St. George, St. Peter, St. Andrew and St. Lucy to address non-revenue water losses.
Meanwhile, an electrical turbine, powered by natural gas, is to be installed at one of the island’s major potable water stations, which Minister Abrahams said was “in keeping with the country’s mandate to transition to a green economy, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
The third element of the Barbados Water Rehabilitation Infrastructure Project speaks to project management.
“It will see opportunities for locals to be involved in this area for the implementation of this project, as well as the opportunity for local and international engineering firms to participate in detailed engineering designs of the investment works, as well as the supervision of works during execution,” the Minister explained.
Noting that the project had been in the works for some time, Minister Abrahams praised the technical staff at the BWA, the EIB, CAF and the Ministry of Finance and Investment for their hard work in bringing it to fruition, despite the local economic challenges.
He also used the opportunity to reassure residents in areas severely affected by outages and low pressure that Government was committed to rectifying their predicament.
“It is almost a superhuman effort. It has started and the relief is coming. We did not get here in two years, five or 10. It will take a while, but I assure you that we, the new Barbados Water Authority, of which I am the Minister, will deliver to you,” Minister Abrahams said.