EDITORIAL: BWA must ease frustration
THE PREVAILING WATER WOES across Barbados have been the subject of public discussion and comment on many occasions in the recent past. Yet, the suffering and hardships many people across this island are encountering on a daily basis because of the poor delivery of a critical service have not let up. The plea for patience while a broken system is fixed cannot be endured by a passive people much longer.
The explanations from the Barbados Water Authority (BWA) about the high level of leakage in the system as well as the persistent rupturing of many of its very old mains is well understood. No one can deny that these very old mains would have corroded and are well past their lifespan.
So the efforts by the BWA to replace them with its current multimillion-dollar islandwide programme is necessary and appreciated. The public obviously expects a dramatic turnaround in water delivery on completion of this project.
The impact of the extended dry spell for most of the year is also understood, given the depletion it would have caused in the wells and reservoirs. Consumers have come to expect water restrictions, including lock-offs in an effort to replenish supplies.
The problems with the consistency of a reliable supply of water have hit our farmers in their efforts to enhance production, caused schools to be closed and impacted many businesses, small and large. Unreliable supply retards production in many different ways.
The lack of water has had a detrimental impact on the lifestyle of many people who depend on a constant supply of water for their many household needs. Some people have tanks to meet their demands; many do not. This lack of water contributes to poor sanitation and hygiene, especially among the young and the elderly. Life can be brought to a virtual standstill.
These challenges are best described by the people in Boscobel, St Peter; Whitehill, St Andrew; Bathsheba, St Joseph; or various other districts across the island. People do not want to hear only about the long-term solutions to the current difficulties the BWA faces – they would like some immediate relief from the hardships they must endure because of an inadequate water supply to their homes. The BWA needs to listen to these voices of desperation and its management must respond with urgency by instituting workable, even if temporary, solutions.
The complaints have been consistently voiced over such a sustained period that some temporary solution should have by now been identified and implemented. The BWA must not behave aloof, neither should it come across as lacking in compassion.
This matter is about customer care, which requires a faster and better solution that must be instituted to bring relief. The sufferers who cry out must neither be overlooked nor dismissed as merely discontented people. After all, they are being inconvenienced daily for a commodity they genuinely need.
Water, after all, is a necessity.