Barbados Water Authority Unable to QUICKLY Fix Leaks

The following note was received by the blogmaster today from a BU family member around 10AM. It is self explanatory.

The thought which comes to mind – we have our priorities wrong. The BWA built a headquarters for how many million? Yet we are unable to respond to the most basic customer request i.e. fix a leak!

Hi David

My neighbour discovered this water leak on the supply side of their line and notified BWA on Saturday of last week (Feb 11th). They were informed that it would be attended to on Monday of the following week. They called again on Tuesday as no one came by on Monday. On Wednesday, a crew finally visited for a short while and left without resolving the situation.

BWA was called again on Thursday asking for an update. I am told that the response given was “We are under pressure with a lot of leaks so we will get back to you when we can”.

Today is Saturday 16, February and the situation remains unchanged.

Keeping in mind that the average flow rate of a kitchen faucet is 2.2 gallons per minute, is it any wonder that the people of St Joseph, St John and St Andrew are suffering from low water pressure and/or denial of service?


72 thoughts on “Barbados Water Authority Unable to QUICKLY Fix Leaks

  1. Canon G Andrew Hatch lamented the loss of water via leaks in the old pipes as far back as 1985 on Brasstacks and said with the plan to replace the old pies and metering supply to customers, we might have licked this problem finally.
    In 1988 or 89 Sandy took the millions in funds the Waterworks had accumulated with the distinct intention of replacing the old mains over time so Sandy’s action put paid to that plan.Sandy not only went on to win the next election but lost it when he sought a renewal 2 years too early.
    In 2008,the Minister Lowe promised to all Barbados on TV no less,fixing leaks will be a thing of the past because he had assembled a crack team of plumbers at Water Authority under his direct control so that ‘when a pipe burses'(sic) his special team of operatives would spring into action and correct the leaking pipe forthwith.I suppose he got sidelined by the Graeme Hall Swamp and the Cahill project that helped destroy Freundel’s reputation for being truthful at all times,being a Pastor in all.
    In his first term of being his own man having won an election without the help of David Thompson,Freundel and the Pitbull being intelligent men who graduated from the Hill with honours and honour proceeded to put the cart before the horse and build a brand new 70 million dollar head quarters using other peoples’ money but owing those other people for the next 25 years, instead of replacing the 1881 mains.
    So we are no where any better off other than paying a heavy price for sewage damage repair mismanaged again by Stuart and the Pitbull.
    Infra was supposed to be replacing mains but the water supply and management of the supply is far from satisfactory.Water is a public good.It should be efficiently managed.The mess created by the management team under the last administration is a far cry from what the average Bajan expects from the BWA.Water supply should be managed by competent professionals with a plan to upgrade the system by replacing the leaking pipes that plague and frustrate both BWA staff and its customers.Some of the revenue currently split with the SSA might need to be reviewed and channel those funds to replacing old mains which is a major time consuming operation.

  2. Gabriel,

    from what you are saying if the Bim electorate had voted for a party other than the DLP over those years the problem would have been sorted.

    that notwithstanding we in Bim (Govt and Citizens) build but never maintain. even so underground pipes are not easy to replace and we are talking about island wide

  3. It’s has been 2 years I reported a leaking main that some 44 years old located in Ocean City. In addition I have a leak on the supply side over a year ago and reminded BWA as recently as last month about these two leaks. Perhaps, pumping water is free as one clown told me recently the water is not lost!

  4. The whole country have too many square pegs in round holes and persons who are loitering on the job. Everybody afraid of some bogey man be it their boss,politician or just interested in milking the inefficient system called Barbados. Perhaps, only when we stop put friendships and partisanship before the need for good governance we will have a better Barbados. #Barbados needs a sustainable vision and not just short term solutions that come back to bite us in the future. #Lawof UnintendedConsequences

  5. @ David BU

    If BWA employees are being sent home ,who are to repair these leaks, and the replacement of old mains and substandard plumbing in residential areas developed since 1970s? We must think through our actions. Knee jerk decisions might be good optics ,but poor management.

  6. The BWA is either digging a hole for itself

    (b) has been thrown into a ditch and need to dig itself out of it

    (c) or finding itself in a ditch just needs to stop digging

    Or just maybe is on a wash and rinse repeat loop of all the three above scenarios.

    just saying.

  7. After reading the brief history by Gabriel, I can only conclude that the inability to fix a specific leak that occurred during the month of February 2019 is the DLP fault.

    As an ardent MIA supporter, I am hoping that Mia can hastily move to replace the DLP pipes with some BLP pipes so that our BLP spanners and other equipment can fit the leaks occurring under her administration.

    Silly…. “Four legs good; two legs better” politricks

  8. @Vincent Layne the government tactical response to stabbings and gun violence is laughable. You cannot use tactical force to deal with an absence of emotional and social intelligence. #UrbanCombat #SocialJustice #SocialInjustice #EmotionalIntelligence #SocialIntelligence Why are the youth feeling angry and hopeless? Why are the youth feeling society does not care and they are been unbraid?

  9. @ Kammie Holder at 10 :12 AM

    The youth are displaying the frustrations and anger which we the elders display every day. The youth hear the elders ; but the actions of the elders deafen them. The elders must lead from in front like all good shepherds. The youths are watching the elders very carefully.

  10. Added 01 February 2019

    ” Barbados could be facing a short-term drought for the next three months and if there is no improvement in the rainfall, it could extend beyond that period.”

    “Meteorologist Brian Murray told the NATION their projections from February through April suggested rainfall could be below the 30-year average.”

    When a water main break is reported repairs should commence within 12 hours and continue until break is repaired.

  11. @David, I will send you a letter on the pending drought that will be seen as offensive by some but my conscience clear for my independent thinking is not for rent or lease

    • @Kammie

      Will look out for it. On another note, if we eliminate plastic has the private sector started to retrofit businesses to produce the replacement products?

  12. @Hants
    ” continue until break is repaired.”
    That is the key idea. If teams are going out and the water is still leaking after the fixing then we must conclude
    [1] They did not have the supplies to fix the leak
    [2} They did not have the expertise to fix the leak
    [3] They just running a pappyshow for the public.

    The range of material for fixing a leak is not that great.
    The equipment required for repairing the leak can easily be assessed and updated on arrival at the scene.
    The expertise to fix a leak should be known and be a part of the responding team.

    Leave the office prepared or in all 3 cases or stay away and stop fooling the public. Forget the B & D thing, You can or cannot fix the leak.

  13. @ Hants at 10 :27 AM

    Hants that used to be the practice when Nickie Sealy was the CEO of BWA.
    He was also known for assisting his employees by using the spade and the peck to ensure the job was done within budget and within time.
    Hugh Sealy is his son.

  14. Barbados has lost its way
    No turning back now
    The only thing govt has on its mind is paying debt
    So all and sundry can forget putting their two words worth of advice unless advice is given to paying debt

  15. @VC
    Why are you dragging us off in a different direction?
    I was looking at the team responding to the ‘crisis’ and ignoring the man/men in charge. And this may be a point that needs greater emphasis

    The failure of some of our system is due to the leadership that we have in place. Fixing of the pipes may be effected by fixing the leadership team/philosophy..

  16. @ Theo

    Can you point me to where I have gone off track on the fixing of leaks in the Barbados Water Works System?
    Your name suggests that you should be gazing at God in awe;not playing God.

  17. You read it the wrong way. It was a ‘reverse compliment’. I was applauding your introduction of the role of management and thus broadening the discussion…..

  18. Now you have me wondering if ‘reverse compliment’ will be misinterpreted.
    Can i use back-handed? Let me not modify it in anyway…

    You read it the wrong way. It was meant to be a compliment’. I was applauding your introduction of the role of management and thus broadening the discussion…..

    No offense meant..

  19. Kammie,

    What many people don’t realize is the pain that the young people are feeling. I have only recently become aware that there is a cutting epidemic among girls of secondary school age. Girls cutting themselves to block out emotional pain. Girls preferring to feel physical pain which they see as easier to deal with. My son is a caring soul and is friends with many many girls. He talks to them and listens. He respects their confidences and so he does not disclose names but a few weeks ago he came home depressed and burdened with the number of cutting instances he had to intervene in. He even brought home the implement that one girl was about to use for the cutting. I thought he was exaggerating until recently. But the depression he felt convinced me.

    The girls are doing violence to themselves. The boys are doing violence to others.

    We have to help our young people.

  20. @ David February 17, 2019 11:33 AM

    What we should be asking Kammie Holder is what’s going to happen after April 1st to the hundred of thousands of plastic bottles containing imported ‘processed’ water.

    What has he, along with his well-intentioned group of environmentalists, recommended to the ‘short-sighted’ authorities to deal with this blatantly obvious loophole?

    Here is a suggestion given ‘gratis’ in the interest of environmental goodness:

    Since this administration has no locally-designed alternative plans for the current quenching of the thirst of the nation (resulting in the yearly spending of millions of dollars in forex ‘wasted’ like a BWA burst main) to the current importation of foreign-recycled stale water why not put the plastic containers of the same returnable deposit footing as the just as deadly sweet-drink plastic bottles both imported and locally filled?

    Why not ‘devise’ an incentive scheme for their ‘profitable’ return thereby turning them into plastic nuggets of golden retrievers for the growing army of small itinerant collectors of wasted treasure troves?

  21. @ Theogazerts at 11:56 AM

    Please accept my apology for misinterpreting your submission at 11:09 AM.

    Headlines and first sentences often set the frame within which ideas are interpreted. I speed read and speed type. Mea culpa.

  22. @ millertheanunnaki February 17, 2019 12:11 PM

    If u really look at it we don’t need imported water. The BWA is top notch. There should be a punitive tax on those imports

    Make the retuntable tax 25 cents or even 50 cents. I honesty think that is one item Bajan can do without given our local supply of H-2-O

    Just saying

  23. Date: 2007

    The label on Aquafina water bottles will soon be changed to spell out that the drink comes from the same source as tap water, the brand’s owner PepsiCo said Friday.

    A group called Corporate Accountability International has been pressuring bottled water sellers to curb what it calls misleading marketing practices.

    Aquafina is the single biggest bottled water brand, and its bottles are now labeled “P.W.S.” The new labels will spell out “public water source.”

    “If this helps clarify the fact that the water originates from public sources, then it’s a reasonable thing to do,” PepsiCo pep spokeswoman Michelle Naughton said Friday.

    The corporate accountability group is also pressing for similar concessions from Coca-Cola ko, which owns the Dasani water brand.

    Dasani’s website says that Dasani comes from local water supplies and is then filtered.

    “We don’t believe that consumers are confused about the source of Dasani water,” Coca-Cola spokeswoman Diana Garza Ciarlante said. “The label clearly states that it is purified water.”

    Sales of bottled water has been a growing source of revenue for companies such as PepsiCo, based in Purchase, N.Y., and Atlanta-based Coca-Cola as they lessen their dependence on sales of traditional carbonated sodas, as consumer concern over health issues has weakened demand.

  24. @ Donna February 17, 2019 11:59 AM

    What many people don’t realize is the pain that the young people are feeling. I have only recently become aware that there is a cutting epidemic among girls of secondary school age. Girls cutting themselves to block out emotional pain. Girls preferring to feel physical pain which they see as easier to deal with. My son is a caring soul and is friends with many many girls…”

    Bajan schoolgirls are just catching up or getting to the point where many girls of similar age in the UK and North America were at 15 years ago.

    Welcome to the modern copycat world of teenage boredom (digital anomie) and with no foresight of a fruitful future!

    What do you expect when almost every thing is given to them on a plate of abject materialism from their cradle to their university days?

  25. I do agree with you. No foresight of a fruitful future. They have no hope. Aimlessly wandering around “anchored” to a mobile phone. Living in a white man’s world worshiping the god of money.

    What are we going to do about it?

  26. @ millertheanunnaki February 17, 2019 12:42 PM

    Are u suggesting that our teenagers need a bit of suffering? Why not evating else seems to be failing. lol

    A bit of working for what u want; some after school chores and discipline when necessary?

  27. Last year I called BWA about a leak outside our property and it wasn’t resolved by the time I was ready to leave. It took someone who knew “someone” to call “someone” to get the issue fixed. Do not excuse incompetence for political indifference.
    People drink bottle water because it is convenient, anyone who drinks bottle water because they think the bottler has discovered the source of a pristine aquifer known only to a select few has more problems than can be described here.

  28. @ SirFuzzy (Former Sheep) February 17, 2019 12:32 PM
    If u really look at it we don’t need imported water. The BWA is top notch. There should be a punitive tax on those imports

    Can you imagine why an already bankrupt former second-world (rated) country borrowing money from the IMF would continue to underwrite an ostentatious lifestyle comprised of drinking other people’s imported stale water and driving around at snail’s pace in luxury cars (not even electric) on makeover donkey cart roads?

    Why not privatize the BWA (and, unlike the BL&P, to be locally owned given the 9 billion dollars lying idly in the thousands of savings accounts) with the specific requirement that it creates a taxable profit centre (production division) charged with the responsibility of producing and marketing bottled Bajan water from the many naturally filtering limestone springs with the ‘catchy’ label: “Produced and bottled in the clean coral island of Beautiful Barbados the environmental gem of the Caribbean”.

  29. @ David February 17, 2019 1:21 PM

    Its all about marketing and promotion. Who says the bottle water quality is any better than BWA’s? We waste forex becuase we dont want to save it…

  30. That’s not suffering that is training. LOL. And it takes time and effort and LOVE for a parent to make the effort. It is usually easier for us to do the chores ourselves then to expend the energy to teach the child to do it, see that they do it properly and on time and often do it over when they aren’t looking until they have mastered the task. I have found that children DO APPRECIATE TRAINING no matter how much they may protest. You should hear how they speak about good parents and good teachers behind their backs. All they ask is that we be FAIR.

  31. @Donna February 17, 2019 1:49 PM

    I await the arrival of some child advocacy group that would suggest other wise. No wonder the trend id downwards. so things of the past are NOT to be discarded fpor modern replacement. Suffering/training the child is one of them.

    Parents should not believe everything they read or watch about the raising children correctly in todays age.

  32. ““Produced and bottled in the clean coral island of Beautiful Barbados the environmental gem of the Caribbean”.”

    OR, call it Porcelain Springs ‘leaking sewer water purified by natural limestone filters’

  33. Greene@7.32
    I made the point that Nicky Sealy the then head of the Waterworks Department was taking in enough revenue and holding on to it with the intention of replacing leaking mains.When Sandy was scratching his donkey looking for money to pay seniors civil servants an above average increase in salary,a Judas like the notorious Quisling gave Sandy a wink and a nod and ratted on the millions Nicky had put aside for his project.Sandy,a man like Trump,jumped at the idea of those millions,told Nicky…’Nicky,down taw nuh brush’.Next thing the millions got huffed to the Consolidation Fund,Nicky got sick and had to leave the Service prematurely.Sandy used that money to help grease his way to win an election free of Errol for the first time in his life.If Tom had lived beyond March 11th 1985,we would be having no problems with the Water Authority because Errol could never win another election with Tom in control of the island,never mind the conniving Maynard boy winking and nodding to Richie.
    Tom was a giant.Nicky was a top class professional.The Democratic Labour Party worse than a category 5 hurricane.This Mia government appears to be bringing Barbados back to its former social and economic platform, fulfilling its promise…..A Better Life for All….including the former dems.

  34. Would take bottle water at any time over the water that comes out of barbados taps
    That thing should not even be given to cattle

  35. “down taw nuh brush”
    Thanks. I remember it and probably used it, but having difficulty remembering when it is truly applicable.
    He transported me over 30 years in the past.

  36. Still trying to figure this out.
    Does it arise when you stop someone from tarring something
    Down tar no brush= Stop tarring. Stop = “Cease and desist”

  37. @ Mariposa February 17, 2019 7:08 PM

    Do we indirectly sell this water to the many tourist and visitors to the island?

  38. Only God knows how that water is filtered and sold because in barbados cant recall if there is fresh spring water coming from some unknown source
    The subject matter of the taste of the water coming from the taps is undisputable tasting like rust

  39. TheO
    If you had ‘boy days’ pitching with marbles especially at primary school,you would likely have heard that a glassy-marble was called a TOY,which morphed in to TAW.In pitching,the turf was about 9 ft in length and consisted of 1)A line (or crease as in cricket) and 3 holes similar to the golf hole.As I recall those holes were 3 ft apart and the pitch was in the form of an upside down T.The game started with ‘eye drops’ to determine whose toy marble dropped closer to the crease.The boy closest to the crease goes first followed by the next closer to the crease etc.One must aim to ‘dine’ each hole at the first attempt and then become ‘killer’.Killer can pose anywhere on the turf and strike any toy whose owner would be automatically ‘out'(of the game)To become ‘killer’,one must dine the 3 holes down the track and turn around and dine the 2 holes coming back toward the crease.If you don’t dine one after the other you have to await your turn again and hope nobody after you becomes ‘killer’.
    The ‘no brush’,were words used in the game when the turf becomes contaminated with bits of soil or dust just as in cricket,the action of bowling wears down the pitch.So to be sure the marble will go into the hole at the first attempt,a boy would brush away any debris first.When the game is reduced to two contenders only,the game becomes extremely competitive so an alert contender not wanting his opponent to win,would be watching for this advantage and call out ‘down taw,huh brush’.So no brushing would be permitted.It was a rule that was not breached because the penalty was loss of the game by that boy who,when he pitched would call out ‘dine like a diner’, if he was able to brush and make smooth the path of the marble to the hole.
    A variation of the marble game was drawing circle (called a Ling)and placing buttons in the circle and whoever hits the button can claim ownership.Lots of shirts at school had no buttons as a result of this game.

    • You just triggered a flood of memories Gabriel. Had some boys could pitch and spin the marble for it to drop spin and stick.

  40. @ Gabriel a 17 Feb at 3:56 PM

    Thanks for confirming , with the anecdotal evidence, the good management at BWA under Mr, Sealy.

  41. @ Gabriel

    You are really an angel. Surely there was a more salacious origin of the term “down Tau, no brush”? Of course, I do not expect you to disclose it in the B U.

  42. Gabriel

    I remember that game quite will … played the game in District A after primary school in the late 70s, but more so than that I don’t too often hear people commenting about fishing at the pond during the weekend and setting bird traps.

    The what about:
    1) Mango Season
    2) Cane Season
    3) Ackee Season

    I am quite sure all of us have our own unique stories to tell based on the landscape where we were raised… Being born and bred in the town area of Barbados … Going to the pond was a big deal for kids in my time … We would go there with our skillet on weekend and caught the Thousands, Mollies, Calapians … then we would go to the Dippy behind the Biscuit Factory which run from Roebuck Street right down through White Park Road to really caught the good fish … Those were the good old days of Barbados of long ago …

  43. @ Vincent Codrington February 19, 2019 1:57 AM
    @ Gabriel
    “You are really an angel. Surely there was a more salacious origin of the term “down Tau, no brush”? Of course, I do not expect you to disclose it in the B U.

    It sounds as if you VC, the ‘virtuous Christian’, were a fully-paid up member in the “Harry’s Nitery” club for discerningly sophisticated gentlemen.

    We are quite sure that the modern ‘high-flying Virgins’ staying short on the Carlisle Bay would be thoroughly enjoying the peep shows had the euphemistic Harry’s tea room not lost its pride of place on the strip for ole Barbadiana night life.

  44. Miller
    Harry would advertise in the dailies and he used “Down taw,nuh brush” and “Hiddy biddy shut up yuh lap tight tight tight” to wet the appetite of the undiscerning.
    Memories of being sat on but can’t touch for Harry to see.After that we would pass by Darnley Greenidge,then Castro then Slims.

  45. @ Gabriel who wrote ” A variation of the marble game was drawing circle (called a Ling)and placing buttons in the circle and whoever hits the button can claim ownership.Lots of shirts at school had no buttons as a result of this game.”

    We used marbles in Ling and the object of the game was to knock them out of the Ling and add them to your stash. I pitched in games where we each put 3 or 4 marbles in the Ling.

    Those were real ” boy days ” when there were no electronic distractions.

  46. Every boy showed tremendous skill at this pitching game.There were guys that would hit your marble from several feet away.There were 2 basic types of marbles.The plain clear ones which were larger and were had from the rum refinery.The colourful smaller ones called ‘glassies” were sold in stores in the city or at ‘drug stores’ anywhere.Boys of means would re-sell those glassies and boys of less means would wait until the glassies took some hits and started to ‘flake’ and would be sold at a reduced price.At primary school we pitched by resting the marble between the third finger and the thumb and flicking the thumb to propel or ‘pitch’ the marble.At secondary school another variation of the pitching game was called ‘coolie’. The marble was placed between the index and middle fingers of the left hand and the middle finger of the right hand would be used to propel the marble usually from a standing or kneeling position as opposed to crouching in the regular game.Some enterprising older boys had iron balls(bearings)for marbles.

  47. There were guys who would not only hit your marbles from several feet away, but would hit your marbles and split them into pieces…those were the guys with the precision and skills …





  49. Gabriel

    We were the Barefoot Generation… but we were self-sufficient because we made our own kites, bats, box-carts chicken coop, scooters, tennis rackets, tape-balls, gutterperk etc

  50. As I recall, taw was the pitching marble; sometimes larger than a normal marble, and known as a Gooch. Since it was customary to place the pitching hand atop of the other to elevate the height at which the marble was pitched from. the ‘down taw’ meant you had to pitch with your pitching hand touching the ground.
    They were also steelies, which which the steel balls from a ball bearing. These were very effective in Ling, as removing them was a tough go (on dirt surfaces), while in turn they could remove glass (lighter) marbles easily. Larger truck bearings, produced the Gooch’s of the steelie world. Prized were the ‘chinas’ or solid coloured marbles with waves of a colour opposing the base colour. I guess the most common white with a blue streak looked like a china plate, hence the name?

  51. As Lexicon points out nothing went to waste.In the absence of the real mc coy the imagination and application of the youngsters knew no bounds.Lorries,buses,tractors,rollers,scooters,pond boats,bows and arrows,knit balls,tar balls,bats from palm branches,all made from scraps of wood,metal,cloth,twine and whatever nature provided.There was no homework at primary school.

  52. @ Lexicon,

    Did you mash trash, set fly sticks, roast breadfruits, shoot gutter perks, played Lilliputian cricket?

  53. Those white marbles were called ‘milkies’. You got one to a bag of mixed marbles and you would trade one for two ‘tiger eyes’. Not only boys pitched marbles or rolled rollers. Whenever you saw a waterworks truck repairing pipes was your turn to beg for the steel band at the end of the pipe to use as rollers. Then they were those who used the frame from bicycle wheels. At 72 years it is good to reminisce.

  54. Pingback: Down Taw Nuh Brush! | Barbados Underground

  55. @Gabriel
    “At primary school we pitched by resting the marble between the third finger and the thumb and flicking the thumb to propel or ‘pitch’ the marble“

    This remind me of a strange pitching action I have seen done by just one person. I think Steinbok(bock, box) was his name and he was quite good.

    He would have the marble on his middle finger and use this finger as a slingshot. It’s remarkable that I have trouble with his name, but can remember how he pitched. I think MB or PLT would know him.

  56. Up taws to lines.

    That is what your opponent said to you when you pitched your marble and it landed and stayed in the ling.

    You then had to walk back to the line that marked the starting point.

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