Acting Minister of the Environment, Water Resources and Drainage, Sen. Haynesley Benn??

Barbadians will be paying more for water from tomorrow, Wednesday, July 1, as the Barbados Water Authority (BWA) moves to become more financially viable.

Acting Minister of the Environment, Water Resources and Drainage, Senator Haynesley Benn, on Monday confirmed the water hike, which, according to him, would see a?? bill of?? $20 be increased to $32, translating?? to an?? approximately?? 60 per cent rise. He, however, expressed the hope that the nominal surge would lead to more Barbadians conserving the precious commodity.

"I hope that the proposed rate increase would help us to conserve more. I am trusting that Barbadians would find sensible ways of conserving the water they use in all areas of the home. We simply must no longer be labelled as ???water scarce’," the Minister contended.

He was at the time addressing an inaugural Water Operators Conference, organised by the Caribbean Basin Water Management Programme Inc. and the BWA at the Div Southwinds Beach Resort, under the theme: ???Operator Professionalism – The Core of Water Utility Development’.

Senator Benn told the local and regional water officials, that the relative ease with which customers received water through their taps, made it difficult for them to be convinced that Barbados was labelled water-scarce. He said as a consequence, most policies designed to encourage conservation had "largely failed".

Citing the policy which related to the construction of storage tanks for new homes and commercial buildings above a specific size, Mr. Benn noted that it had been observed "more in the breach", since, in a number of instances they were constructed, but never used as intended.

"Many of these tanks have been allowed to become breeding areas for mosquitoes which affect the public health of this country. The goal of using rainwater for non-potable purposes such as toilet flushing, the watering of gardens, and car washing seems to have been lost on many citizens," he lamented.

In an effort to improve the overall provision of service to the public, the Minister said Cabinet had also instructed that a 24-hour operational system in key areas of the BWA’s operations be introduced. It would replace the existing one in which services were provided between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. and over-time paid for work done after hours.

"This arrangement has proven to be costly and the curtailment of service after hours has been a constant source of irritation to the public," Senator Benn explained. He noted that the process to implement the 24-hour operation was currently being undertaken.

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