Barbados is still in Phase I – the Voluntary Stage – of the National Drought Management Plan.

Consequently, Barbadians are being encouraged to continue to employ voluntary conservation measures.

Word of this has come from General Manager of the Barbados Water Authority, (BWA) Denis Yearwood, who has reiterated that at this stage the Authority’s Drought Management Task Force has been mobilised; and water table and reservoir levels, as well as salanities, constantly measured.

"The behavior of these parameters is key and is used to determine the feasibility of remaining at Stage 1 of the Plan or advancing to the next level. The BWA continues to monitor all key parameters regularly and has increased its investigation and repair of leaks and bursts reported in the distribution system.

"Most of our systems are still holding up relatively well in the current weather conditions, but, with the dry spell expected to last several more months, it is imperative that we all remain vigilant in our water consumption practices," the BWA official underlined.

In this regard, householders are being urged to take shorter showers; keep a bucket in the shower to capture the cold water runoff and use this to water plants; refrain from watering ornamentals and lawns, as well as washing cars with hoses; check their water meters regularly for high consumption and generally start using water within their homes and businesses more efficiently.

Public service announcements on water conservation have already been disseminated to radio and television stations via the Barbados Government Information Service and the BWA will continue to provide the requisite updates.

Stage II the Mandatory Stage, entails the expansion of the taskforce to a multi-agency one, along with the issuance of an official prohibition. This would signal the start of night-time shut-offs in selected distribution systems. ??Mechanisms will also be put in place to police enforcement of the prohibition in accordance with the provisions of the BWA Act.

Stage III, the Extreme Stage, is the final phase to be employed if the situation fails to improve. At this point, more austere measures would have to be employed. These would require extended shut-offs in the distribution system, even at times during the day.

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