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Temporary fix for water-starved districts

Temporary fix for water-starved districts
Prime Minister Mia Mottley (GP)

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The Mia Mottley administration is instituting several temporary measures to alleviate the “heightened and unusual demand for water” brought about by need to clean the volcano ash as well as that for general use.

Prime Minister Mottley announced on Thursday evening that Barbados would be purchasing water from CARICOM neighbour Dominica. She was speaking during a national address that also included Attorney General Dale Marshall and Minister of Health Jeffrey Bostic.

“We are in the middle of concluding arrangements with the Government of Dominica for the purchase of water on a weekly basis, two- to two-and-a half million gallons a week until such time as we can compete the reservoir and the pump station, with Vineyard and Castle Grant being serviced with the appropriate water coming through Golden Ridge from the Vineyard point,” Mottley said.

The Prime Minister said Barbados had already committed to sending water to St Vincent and the Grenadines after La Soufriere volcano erupted, prior to Barbados being covered in ash deposits. In the interim, Guyana also sent bottled water that would be distributed this weekend.

Communities in the northern, eastern and central parts of Barbados have been without water, some residents say for more than two weeks, and it was exacerbated by the need to clean the ash.

Mottey said on Monday she held a six-hour meeting with officials at the Barbados Water Authority (BWA), private stakeholders and the trade unions.

She charged the BWA to increase the level of delivery of water, the tanks are to be “appropriately serviced” and more tanks are to be put into the field so more communities can have access to water.

“Recognising that the permanent solutions are in the near future”, the Prime Minister said the Authority purchased water trucks, some of which are due at the end of May, but she called for better communication from BWA with the communities on when water is being provided, why and how.

However, the only thing that will truly alleviate the pain are the water mains projects which are still in the works. Pipes are to be laid from Vineyard to Mount Pleasant, Golden Ridge and Castle Grant to service the St Joseph area as well as new ones from St Stephen’s Hill to Lodge Hill to service Shop Hill, Bagatelle and surrounding communities.

A well field at Groves that will give another two million gallons a day was also identified. Mottley said the work should be finished “in the near future and certainly within the next three months” so these temporary arrangements could be discontinued.

Government is also looking for a temporary solution to supplement what is being done in St Lucy to help the north of the island. The Hope Desalination Plant is back online and that alleviated some of the problems that catchment area faces.

Mottey said “it wasn’t easy” dealing with the South Coast sewage problem, the shortage of buses and garage trucks, but in the same vein, a solution would be found for the water crisis.

She said 13 more buses were due in June. (SAT)