Minister of the Environment, Water Resources and Drainage, Dr.?? Denis?? Lowe??

Plans are on stream for the development of a Comprehensive Water Resources Management Plan for Barbados.

This, according to Minister of the Environment, Water Resources and Drainage, Dr.?? Denis?? Lowe,?? will?? not only?? cover?? the operations of the Barbados Water Authority (BWA), but will include?? the Drainage Division, and govern the introduction of new?? water harvesting?? technologies,?? as well as the island’s response to climate change issues .

Minister Lowe, who was giving an insight into the Ministry???s policy focus for the short-term, explained: "We have to deal with the erratic nature of the weather,???? we have to deal with how we are going to stop most of the rain water from running into the ocean and we have to deal with whether or not we are going to look at damming as a possible mechanism to trap water. All of these things must be looked at but they must come within the harness of an integrated water management programme."

Noting that he would be requesting a proposal from the BWA in the near future, Minister Lowe said the Water Resources Management Plan would give flesh to the Water Resources component of the Ministry. On this score, he stressed the need to have the plan developed and rolled-out as soon as was practicable.

??"It is important because we really need to be more pragmatic in our focus on water. Water must not mean only the BWA, but it must include the management of rain water run-off, the management of springs and the inclusion of water management techniques including damming," he underscored.

Speaking to Barbados’ current designation as a water scarce country, Dr. Lowe observed that the listing was not due to an actual scarcity of water, but because of the statistical measure and matrix used to formulate the international designation. He, however, warned that at the rate at which the country is currently experiencing droughts, we might actually move in that direction.

"We can get there. Climate change has a tremendous impact on water patterns?? in that it can exacerbate flooding, or cause the other extreme in terms of drought.

Therefore, to manage your mitigation services you have to be able to put systems in place that can respond to droughts or floods.

"And I am saying that water management for Barbados now, cannot simply be ensuring that there is water at the end of people’s taps. It has to be more than that. So the country can expect to have a comprehensive Water Resources Management Plan produced and coming forth very soon," Minister Lowe pledged.

Citing water resources management and solid waste management as the two areas expected to be "headliners" for the Ministry within the next six to 18 months, Dr. Lowe said Government’s Water Infrastructure Programme was "comprehensive".?? According to him it includes the refurbishments of reservoirs, the construction of a Reverse Osmosis Plant in the Belle, St. Michael?? to treat to the issue of nitrates, and a "massive mains [repair/replacement] programme".

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