Despite the increasing prevalence of public-private partnerships, Minister of the Environment, Water Resources and Drainage, Dr. Denis Lowe, has underscored the need for central social services to remain under the purview of government.

"While this is certainly not an announced position of Government, it is my view that central social services should always be owned by Government. When these services get into the hands of the private sector, Government loses its regulatory ability.?? I believe that when it comes to water, public???? transportation, health and those areas that they should be Government owned and operated," Dr. Lowe maintained.

Responding?? to?? the question as to?? whether?? he saw?? a time coming when the Barbados Water Authority (BWA)?? would be privatised , Minister Lowe, maintained that if?? left to him,?? the answer would be a resounding "no!"

In this regard, he maintained that it was for this reason that it was important for the Ministry to ensure that the BWA recovered and attained financial viability.

??"It has the capacity to do so, but there are some other areas of innovation that it has to explore in order to make itself a viable institution.?? I think once we get a grip on the leakage of water, replace the old mains and put some new systems in place, like desalination plants, this will move us in the direction where we can recover the inherent strength of the Water Authority," Minister Lowe opined.????

In giving an update on the proposed Desalination Plant, he gave the assurance that it was "still on the cards."

"We are working in the St. Philip area, because there is a lot of water there.?? We have just started an active water exploration programme to try to determine the best site to locate it," the Minister revealed.

Indicating that this was part of Government’s overall?? capital works programme,?? Dr. Lowe said it?? would be in tandem with efforts?? to?? increase the water supply from the Spring Garden?? plant, to be distributed?? first to the Belle, St. Michael,?? and then on to Providence in Christ Church.

"We are moving briskly on this proposal because that is a key development area. That entire belt is scheduled for housing development, and I believe that a school plant may be going into that area as well," he intimated.

Describing Government’s water infrastructure programme as "very comprehensive,"?? Minister Lowe said it included the refurbishment of reservoirs; the construction of?? a reverse?? osmosis plant?? to address issues involving nitrates;, as well as a "massive"?? mains replacement initiative expected to cost in excess of?? Bds $300 million.

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