Drought, yes, but of leadership
FOR THE PAST SEVERAL YEARS, parts of Barbados have experienced severe water shortages and, in some instances, none at all.
The main reason given by the relevant minister and officials from the Barbados Water Authority has been that the island was experiencing a drought.
Based on accurate information from my records – and I live in St Michael close to the border with Christ Church, an area considered one of average rainfall – for the 29-year period from 1988 to 2016, total rainfall was 1 719 inches, which gives an average of 59 inches annually.
The highest annual rainfall was 85 inches in 2010 and the lowest, 44 inches, in 1993.
It has been known for at least 30 years that there is a large number of old pipes leaking millions of gallons daily underground. In addition, there is a significant cost to pump this water.
Both administrations are at fault for not dealing with this situation long ago.
When David Thompson came to power, one of the first things he did was to increase water rates by roughly 60 per cent. The reason given was to use the increase in revenue to replace said old pipes.
A few months ago we were informed that a loan of $50 million was being obtained to replace these pipes. This therefore begs some questions:
1) How much additional revenue has been removed from taxpayers’ pockets since the increase in rates?
2) How many of the old pipes have been replaced and at what cost?
3) Since the answer to No. 2 is likely to be little or none, what became of the additional revenue raised and why is a huge loan being sought to fix this problem?
Of course, no one will hold their breath waiting for answers.
It is obvious from the above figures that since the average rainfall over the last three years is only ten per cent below a 29-year period, we have a slightly below average rainfall situation but not a drought.
Water is the most precious resource as mankind cannot exist without it. Once again, we have another instance of inept management being the root cause of the problems. This is where the drought is to be found.
– MICHAEL BIRKETT