The Barbados Water Authority (BWA) is a Statutory Body established by an act of Legislature on 8th October, 1980 to replace the Waterworks Department of Government. It commenced operations on April 1, 1981. It is the entity in Barbados charged with supplying the island with potable water as well as the provision of wastewater treatment and disposal services to the sewered areas of Bridgetown and the South Coast. The Authority is also responsible for the monitoring, assessment, control and protection of the water resources in the public’s interest.
- Springs: BWA has two (2) spring sources – Codrington College Spring & Benn Spring.
- Wells: The network also comprises 22 well sources (17 sheet & 5 stream water wells) and 8 boreholes, all ranging in depth from 119.5 to 322 feet.
- Desalination: Water produced at the Desalination Plant using the reverse osmosis process is mixed with the groundwater from wells to complement BWA’s general supply.
- Mains:The water network across the island is connected by over 2 000 miles of transmission and distribution mains.
- Reservoirs etc.: The water reaches customers via distribution mains connected to 22 Pumping Stations, 14 Re-pumping Station and 27 Reservoirs.
There are currently two Sewage Treatment Plants on the island – Bridgetown & South Coast.
Connection: Owners/occupants of properties connected to the public sewers are required to pay to the Barbados Water Authority (BWA) a ‘lump sum’ sewer connection fee and recurrent/monthly fee for the collection, treatment and disposal of their wastewater. These charges may be attached to your water account billings.
Treatment: The Bridgetown Plant employs Secondary Treatment of waste, removing all suspended and dissolved solids by combining them with activated sludge. The South Coast Plant, however, only treats waste to a Primary stage.
Lift Stations: In the Bridgetown system, there are 4 Lift Stations and 1 Seawater Pump Station, all in St. Michael, while the South Coast system includes 5 Lift Stations – 2 in St. Michael and 3 in Christ Church.
Discharge: Both Treatment Plants discharge the effluent water out to sea but the sludge generated from the Bridgetown Plant is disposed of on land. The waste from the South Coast (rags etc. captured in the system) is collected in a ‘skip’ and disposed of in the island’s landfill.
Water scarce country
One of the parameters by which a country is judged by the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO), is its per capita water resource availability. If a country has less than a thousand (1,000) cubic metres (m3) per capita per year, it is adjudged to be a water scarce country. Barbados has been so designated, as its available water resources are currently rated at three hundred and ninety (390) m3 per person. One (1) cubic metre is equivalent to two hundred and twenty (220) gallons.