The Barbados Water Authority (BWA) has reiterated its appeal for Barbadians to voluntarily conserve water in light of the current drought conditions.

According to the BWA’s Public Relations Officer, Yvette Harris-Griffith, water conservation remains the most effective and environmentally- sound way to reduce demand for water. "This stretches our water supply farther, and by using less water, it also puts less pressure on the sewage treatment facilities and uses less energy for water heating," she explained.

While highlighting the myriad ways in which Barbadians could save water and money in their homes, Ms. Harris-Griffith stressed the need primarily to ensure that homes were leak-free.?? She noted that the signs of a water meter running while all faucets were off, most likely signified a leak within the home. Having every leak plugged, she maintained, could mean daily water savings in the region of 20 gallons.

Using a bucket of water to wash one’s car instead of a hose, Ms. Harris-Griffith disclosed, could save approximately 1,200 gallons of water per month for a two-car family; while installing water-saving shower heads or low-flow fixtures could save between 500 and 800 gallons per month. Additionally, the efficient use of water appliances, for example running full loads in the washing machine or dishwasher, could lead to monthly water savings of between 300 to 800 gallons.

In terms of showers, the BWA official advised that in order to reduce the water bill, shorter showers were the way to go. "Even a one or two minute reduction can save

up to approximately 150 gallons per month per person," she said, while highlighting the need to turn off the water while brushing the teeth, soaping or shaving.

Ms. Harris-Griffith also suggested that while persons waited for the hot water to come through the shower, the runoff could be caught and later used for the watering of plants and gardens. This, she disclosed, could save between 200 and 300 gallons of water per month.

While cooking, it is more cost-effective, the BWA spokesman pointed out, to use a filled sink or pan to defrost frozen foods, wash dishes or peel vegetables, rather than to use running water. "Changing this habit can save you between 50 and 150 gallons a month," Ms. Harris-Griffith charged, also suggesting use of the least amount of detergent possible for washing dishes or hand-washing laundry, in order to minimise rinse water demand.

Leaking toilets were also flagged as another culprit. In order to check for leaks, Ms. Harris-Griffith proposed adding a few drops of food colouring to the tank and waiting for a period of 15 minutes before flushing. "If the tank is leaking you will see the coloured water appear in the bowl. Have a plumber fix the problem for you, it can save you approximately 400 to 600 gallons a month," she observed.

For care of lawns and gardens, the BWA is advocating that they be watered, only when absolutely necessary, in the early morning or late evening and not during the

heat of the day when evaporation is at its peak. Householders are also being encouraged to plant drought-resistant trees and plants.

While persons can also expect vegetation to look brown at this time, as it usually does during the dry season, Ms. Harris-Griffith cautioned that over-wetting of lawns or plants may actually be more harmful than beneficial.

In addition, as householders, farmers and Barbadians in general, wait patiently on the rain, the BWA has urged them to make good use of it when it comes by capturing it in sealed containers and using it for watering house plants, washing cars or other household chores for which non-potable water can suffice.

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