Government is doing everything possible to address the water issues in the country.
Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley gave this assurance during an address to the nation from Ilaro Court, this evening.
She said: “In the same way that I promised you that we would deal with the transport problem, and we did, and in the same way that I promised you that we would deal with the south coast sewage system, and we did, and in the same way we promised you that we would deal with the garbage problem, and we did. We are dealing with the water issue.”
Ms. Mottley noted that with the recent ash fall from the erupting La Soufrière volcano in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, there was a heightened and unusual demand for water in the country for persons to clean their surroundings.
As a result, an inordinate demand was placed on an already strained system, which further hampered the delivery of water to some communities across the island.
She said after a six-hour meeting on Monday with the Barbados Water Authority (BWA) and all of the major private sector players involved in the supply and storage of water in the country as well as the unions, certain temporary and transient measures were decided upon to help alleviate the water woes persons are experiencing.
Those measures include the BWA increasing the level of delivery of water while ensuring that water tankers are appropriately serviced and more tanks are put into the field, as well as an increase in the number of trucks currently on order, with the first batch scheduled to arrive at the end of May.
Another measure includes receiving water from Guyana and Dominica. “We were very glad that the Government of Guyana has once again stepped up to the plate. Cases of bottled water came in… and I believe that came in today or yesterday, and will be dispatched this weekend to households.
“In addition to that, we are in the middle of concluding arrangements with the Government of Dominica for the purchase of water on a weekly basis, two to two and a half million gallons a week, until such time as we can complete the reservoir and the pumping station,” Ms. Mottley reported.
She also pointed out that the work at Vineyard remains critical in helping to alleviate the water issues faced, mainly in rural areas.
“We expect, in the near future, and certainly within the next three months, that will be completed, then we can hopefully discontinue these kinds of temporary and transient means of providing water to the people of St. Joseph, and to the people of surrounding areas,” she said.
The Prime Minister said Government is also working with the Ionics Freshwater Plant to run pipes from St. Stephen’s Hill to the Lodge Hill Reservoir to the Shop Hill Reservoir, in order to provide water for areas such Bagatelle, Welches, Edgehill Heights and Shop Hill.
Ms. Mottley also stated that the Hope temporary desalination plant is back online, and Government is currently renegotiating the contractual terms for permanent desalination plants. She said the BWA would also seek to improve its communication to the public.
“There are some challenges, but we believe that we will get on top of them…. It is absolutely clear to me that it is not beyond our control to deal with them. But we do have real real issues with the climate crisis, and with the groundwater recharges, largely because of the fact of the absence of rain, and the absence of replenishment of our aquifers.
“This is not an easy exercise and with the best will in the world, it takes time, [and] I’m satisfied that we will get on top of the water issues,” Prime Minister Mottley assured.