Barbadians have been drilled from primary school that we are a water scarce country. There is a technical definition, a simple translation is the lack of available water resources to meet demand. In Barbados there are three reasons to explain the predicament we find ourselves- change in climatic conditions adversely affecting water catchment, a growing demand for potable water AND poor management of available water resources.
In 2016 or thereabouts a water shortage severely affected the North of the island and gave rise to a citizen group calling itself the Water Warriors- there was talk then as there is now- that solutions were/are in the pipeline. It is 2019 and if we listen to the cries of citizens about the lack running water, the problem appears to have gotten worse.
People pay taxes to ensure critical services like water, waste disposal, transportation and a few others are efficiently supplied by government. The fact that we continue to demonstrate the poorest management that forces citizens to embarrass themselves by making public cries is unacceptable. Can we honestly label ourselves an educated people if we continue to mismanage our affairs to this degree?
Here is a reminder of short and longer term solutions promised in 2016 by the then Minister of Water Resources David Estwick.
- The Barbados Water Authority has put in an order for eight additional water tankers to provide potable water for residents of St Joseph, St Andrew and St John.
- The tankers will take the BWA complement to 13, and they should be in Barbados in about two months.
- The BWA is presently rehabilitating a well at Groves in St George aimed at providing an additional 500 000 gallons of water to the Golden Ridge/Castle Grant system which supplies the northern parishes.
- The BWA has also completed a new pumping station at the Lazaretto, Black Rock, St Michael which allows it to push desalinated water down the island’s west coast into the St Peter system to get water to St Peter and St Lucy until the completion of the Northern Upgrade project which was started under a previous administration.
- The St Philip Water Augmentation project to find additional water to alleviate shortages in the south of Barbados will be commissioned next Wednesday, allowing the BWA access to an additional 3.5 million gallons of water per day, some of which will be pushed to St Joseph, via Bowmanston in St John – Nationnews
The Ionics desalination plant was also upgraded and contracted by government to augment the supply of water.
The majority of middleclass Barbadians have invested in water storage facilities, it is always the poor and vulnerable who are exposed by the chronic mismanagement by authorities.
The same lament can be repeated to explain the garbage pileup across the country. We hear the excuses and promises from Minister of the Environment Trevor Prescod that new garbage trucks will be deployed shortly. However sensible people are asking what is the backup plan. Is there a good case to contract private waste-haulers to assist with short term waste collection? Do not forget there is a systemic problem to be solved of implementing a waste management plan. Dumping garbage in a landfill is a primitive waste disposal solution and exposes successive governments for the inability to implement relevant solutions. The current flare up by sanitation workers is another symptom of mismanagement of our national affairs.
The quality of debate in this space and elsewhere means we can anticipate political operatives tossing the usual vacuous barbs to defend narrow political interest. This is where we are and where we will will continue to be as a nation- a country in decline if…