Dry spell worry
by NATANGA SMITH [email protected]
BARBADOS is in the midst of a drought and the country should brace for stiff measures as the Barbados Water Authority (BWA) struggles to provide the precious resource.
The main issue relates to two reservoirs – Shop Hill in St Thomas, and Castle Grant, St Joseph.
Keithroy Halliday, general manager of the BWA, told the DAILY NATION on Tuesday night that these two, which service areas including Lancaster in St James, and Shop Hill, were “empty”.
“The reservoir levels vary on an ongoing basis because it depends on supply and demand. We have had challenges keeping Castle Grant filled and recently we have issues with Golden Ridge reservoir. That is based on the drought and the fact that water supplies are very low and we have not been able to produce as much as we should. For the first time it [Golden Ridge] has recorded its lowest level and that is unprecedented for the BWA.
“Some of them will run low from time to time and even though Shop Hill has about five or six feeds going to it, based on the drought, we have not managed to send as much water to it,” he explained.
Speaking in Roebuck Street, The City, where the BWA had completed repairs to a 15-inch ruptured main, Halliday said the signs of the drought had started to appear “earlier in the year”.
“We would have had some signals when we started looking at what was happening with the system as the saline levels in some wells rose and the forecast we would have had from the Barbados Meteorological Services and the Caribbean Institute of Meteorology and Hydrology,” he added.
The general manager explained the low reservoirs were not unusual as it was a yearly problem, but the extent of the drought is based on climate variability. He said the drought facing the country now, while not as severe as 2015 and 2016, was testing the BWA’s ability and resources to be able to produce more water. He said for security reasons he could not say what the levels should be versus what they were now.
“We cannot produce more water so we have to find proactive measures, for instance the Ionics Plant expansion which will add an additional 15 000 cubic metres a day (one cubic metre is equivalent to 220 gallons). This will make a difference to water channel to the north . . . to Lancaster, up to Castle Grant and then to Shop Hill areas.”
He said that expansion should be completed in five weeks.
Minister of Energy and Water Resources Wilfred Abrahams, who was also at the site of the burst main repairs near the Globe Cinema, Roebuck Street with Halliday, concurred.
“We are having serious issues with the low levels in the reservoirs,” he said, adding that the utility company’s way of
Continued on Page 5.