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Precious to the last drop


Antoinette Connell

Precious to the last drop

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I HAD A FRIEND who simply could not understand the concept of water conservation.
No matter how I explained about turning off taps, it seemed not to get through to him.
And it wasn’t the annoying drip, drip, drip of a faulty tap. No, it was the running at full blast of a faucet that could simply be stopped with another turn.
Phrases like “water-scarce” and “drought” unbelievably had no impact on him. Actually, it was like water off the duck’s back.
I would get scared thinking about what I would do if all the water virtually dried up around me. For a better appreciation, try watching the movie The Book Of Eli, one of the latest films to examine the desolation of the earth and the scarcity of water.
There are predictions that, rather than fighting over love, power and land, in the future wars will be fought over the precious liquid.
There are services that each time they are down near-panic ensues. Water, electricity and the telephone services are considered essential and almost no one is willing to do without them. But inevitably, whether because of nature or man-made interferences, these services will be inaccessible at some point.
When that happens, I will cry out for water over and above all others. Give me water any day over the conveniences of electricity.
Not the point
I would conduct all my business during the day and sleep at night, the way God intended it when He created the world.
But back to my friend, who is not alone in his outlook, judging from the numerous appeals and public service announcements.  
The response would be something to the effect: not to worry because even if the bill came in high he could pay it. Aghh!!!
That was not the point, I struggled to explain more than once.
What does it matter if you are a multi-billionaire and there is no water? Could you still afford to pay for it?
Having the ability to pay for a natural resource does not give you the privilege to waste it. And I believe this may be the misguided rationale behind some of the heavy water wastage in Barbados.
I do not believe that some people sit down and reason that by conserving water they are also doing themselves a huge favour. Utility companies must also feel the same way.
Last week project manager at the Barbados Water Authority  Lawrence Cumberbatch revealed that underground leaks were leading to 48 per cent of its non-revenue water being lost. That figure accounted for water that has been produced but lost without even reaching residents and businesses.
Prolonged dry spell
Water is wasted before it reaches subscribers and more is wasted by the users. Barbados is ranked in the top 15 of water-scarce countries.
An Inter-American Development Bank project is supposed to help mitigate this water wastage by putting the BWA in a position to better locate the water leakages and carry out repairs.
But the situation is now further compounded by the prolonged dry spell being experienced by the island. These dry conditions are ideal for grass fires.
Whether or not the fires were being deliberately set, Chief Fire Officer Wilfred Marshall could not say, but 27 such fires in one day were putting a strain on the fire service.
Food supplies affected
For sure, with outside being as dry as it is, that no doubt helps the fires to spread faster, making it more difficult for the officers to contain the threat to life and property. Water is the solution.
The lack of water has also left farmers fearing that food supplies will be affected. Farmers have been dealt a double whammy.
Without water, certain fruits and vegetable will not grow and then the rampaging grass fires also threaten both produce and livestock.
I hope I don’t have to spell out much more than this in explaining why we need to conserve water. If I do, it means that some will have to feel it to understand it.  

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