The Barbados Water Authority (BWA) is today taking the opportunity to apologise sincerely for the inconvenience caused to its valued customers in the affected parishes of St. John, St. George and St. Philip recently as a result of discoloured water issues at its station in Bowmanston, St. John.
The Authority would also like to explain in a bit more detail the situation that occurs at this St. John facility following periods of inclement weather.
Currently, this St. John station is sometimes affected negatively by silt/mud entering the well whenever the area receives heavy rainfall. Once there are bouts of intense rainfall in the area, silt and mud are washed into the Bowmanston well causing discoloured water (which is termed increased turbidity). On occasions where the weather is extreme or prolonged, the Authority would generally take the Pumping Station offline (shutdown) until weather conditions improve and the level of turbidity settle down. This action is taken to prevent discoloured water being pumped into the network and to our customers.
Recently, the island in general and this area in particular, have received a large amount of rainfall and the stoppage of pumping at this station has caused residents in several districts in three parishes – St. John, St. George and St. Philip to be affected by low pressure or water outages.
The assessment of the issue has concluded that silt (soil sediments) is entering the underground stream that runs to the well, upstream in the catchment area. In this part of the island, there are many points at which rainfall enters the stream and quickly becomes groundwater.
The BWA is pursuing efforts to address and correct the issue. The timeline for addressing the issues is as follows:
Ongoing Efforts to Address the Matter
- The BWA is making adjustments to the distribution system to bring water from neighbouring systems into the affected areas to reduce some of the districts affected by outages.
- The Authority will make every effort to continue assisting customers in the affected areas via water tanker as a temporary measure once the situation persists.
- Pumping will resume from the facility once the turbidity levels reduce.
Future Plans to Resolve the Discoloured Water Issue
- For the long term, there is a project that will start early next year, 2024. This project will rehabilitate the upstream areas of the catchment to reduce the ingress of silt and mud getting into the stream.
- The BWA will also be cleaning and refurbishing the Reservoir at the location which was in place from the 1800s.
- The Authority will also be looking at a system to treat any silty water that still manages to get into the stream.
The Authority will continue to keep residents of the affected areas updated on the progress of works being undertaken to correct these issues. (ENDS)