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Water project

Tony Best

Water project

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It would cost millions of dollars and take three years to launch, but Codrington College wants to bottle fresh water from its natural springs to help satisfy consumer needs.
If the project becomes a reality and is a financial success, the returns would boost resources of the Caribbean’s leading theological institution at a time when they are being seriously undermined by the Freundel Stuart administration’s fiscal axe that is cutting 70 per cent of the Government support to the 300 year old theological institution in St John.
“It’s a project we are exploring quite seriously because we are convinced it’s viable and can be successful, given the amount of imported bottled water Barbadians use,” said Dr Ian Rock, Codrington College’s principal. “The college is located on natural springs and quite a lot of the water goes to waste right now, 24/7. We believe we can turn it into a steady revenue stream.”
Dr Hensley Sobers, executive secretary of the Codrington Trust, is equally enthusiastic about the idea and is working to bring it to fruition.
“There is plenty of natural spring water on Codrington College’s property, which can be tapped for this project,” said Sobers. “We have discussed our plans with the private sector and the Government and we are proceeding with them.”
Rock, who recently spent a few days in New York preaching at St Mark’s Episcopal Church in Brooklyn and meeting with Codrington graduates who are now serving in the Episcopal Church, said that the locally bottled spring water would help satisfy a growing consumer demand for it.
“Barbados currently imports quite a lot of bottled water and we at Codrington sit on a spring which can be tapped to meet a local demand,” was the way he put it.
“We think it would be useful for the country as a whole. I don’t know how much foreign exchange is used annually to import bottled water annually but our springs are running 365 days a year so why not use it? But the water project isn’t simply limited to bottling. An idea flowing from that is the possibility of aquaculture, fish farming. We think a fish farming programme can be explored. That’s not all.       
“There is another possibility, a horticultural project that would allow us to grow ginger lilies and the like for export.
“It’s a multi-faceted project we are looking at as far as the water is concerned,” Rock added. “We think it has great potential. Sobers has been working with some people to make it possible and when it does become a reality it should be a substantial revenue-earner for the college.”
He readily acknowledged that the Codrington springs produce water that was high in calcium, but they were advised it can be treated to eliminate that potential problem.
“The water project will require tremendous start-up capital,” the principal explained. “You have to look at building, equipment for purifying the water, the bottling equipment, labelling and so on. We are hoping the Government will cooperate with us and give the local product priority over imported water. I have seen water in Barbados that was bottled in Greece, meaning we are importing water from half-way around the world. We have excellent water in Barbados coming from our taps and from our springs.”