Frequently Asked Questions

We provide safe, reliable and sustainable water and wastewater services whilst ensuring customer satisfaction.

How do I apply for Water Service?

All persons making application for a new water service must do so at the Authority’s Customer Service Centre.  They must complete an application form and present an acceptable form of picture identification along with proof of ownership of the land or written permission from the Landowner, an approved plan from the Town & Country Planning Department and a recent land tax receipt.

What is the purpose of the water meter?

The water meter is the instrument that measures the amount of water going into a property. It is owned, installed and maintained by the BWA. However the customer is responsible for protecting it from damage. Although it is used by the Authority to calculate a customer’s water usage, it can also be used by the customer to check for leaks on their premises.

Am I responsible for leaks?

Looking After Your Plumbing:  All plumbing issues and/or leaks between the meter and a customer’s premises remain their responsibility, the BWA only repairs leaks or corrects problems between the main and the water meter.                                                                                                               

 

 

How can I make a complaint?

To make a complaint, any customer can call our Hotline at 246-434-4292 or go into our Customer Service Centre at Pine Commercial Estate, The Pine, St. Michael. Should you wish to communicate via the Internet you can email us at [email protected]

How can I pay my bill?

Water bills are distributed monthly and are payable at several locations:

  • BWA Customer Service Centre, The Pine Commercial Estate, The Pine, St. Michael;
  • All branches of the Republic Bank Barbados Ltd.;
  • All Post Offices;
  • The Barbados Public Workers’ Co-operative Credit Union Ltd., Belmont Road; Broad Street; Emerald City, Six Roads; and Carlton Complex, Black Rock.
  • All SUREPAY outlets.

Bills can also be paid online via RBC Royal Bank of Canada, Scotiabank, CIBC First Caribbean International Bank and SurePay Online.  Customers paying at the Authority’s Customer Service Centres may also use debit or credit cards to settle their bills.

Property owners are reminded that the Barbados Water Authority does not mail bills overseas.  In the event that the property belongs to an absentee owner, a local agent who will accept responsibility for the service must be appointed.  Should the owner’s absence from the island be temporary, the account may be prepaid to cover the duration of the absence.

Tell me about Water and Wastewater Tariffs?

Water and Wastewater Tariffs: The BWA introduced a new rate structure for potable water on July 1, 2009. The rate for commercial customers was raised to $4.66 per cubic metre (m3) and ships rate to $8.08 while the four rate blocs for domestic customers were placed at – $2.48 per m3 (0-8 m3); $3.10 per m3 (9-20 m3); $4.66 per m3 (21-40 m3) and $7.78 per m3 (over 40 m3). No changes have been to the sewerage tariffs which remain 1/3 of the bill for domestic customers and 2/3 of the bill for commercial.

 

How do I prepare for Hurricane Season?

Are You Ready for the Hurricane Season?

 

Potable Water

In preparation for the Hurricane Season it is ALWAYS advisable to have water stored in case you are affected by a water outage.  To ensure your household has a safe and adequate water supply during and after natural disasters, take these precautions:

  • Store enough drinking water for each family member and pet.
  • Store in clean, non-corrosive, tightly covered containers.
  • Store containers in a cool, dark location.
  • Collect water in bathtubs for non-drinking uses.

 

Protecting the water infrastructure on your property

As soon as landfall is imminent or evacuation notices are issued during a hurricane warning, you can further protect the water supply going into your home and minimize property damage by following the guidelines shown below:

 

How to protect your water heater

  • Turn off your water at the meter.
  • Switch off the electrical circuit breakers

How to turn off your water meter

Your water can be shut off at the ball valve near the water meter.  Everyone in your home should know where this is located.  The valve (two brass ears with holes at the ends, normally in an L-shape) is usually under the water meter outside the house.

It will be in line with your water meter, which is normally located near the edge of your property line or near the street.  Even if the water supply becomes contaminated and is not safe to drink, the valve can be operated to provide water, if available, for sanitary purposes only.

 

How to find water for non-potable uses

  • Fill up the bathtub.
  • Use the water contained in the tank of the hot water heater.

 

How to purify water

During and after a hurricane, the water supply to your home may become contaminated and unfit to drink. Should the water have become unsafe to drink due to infiltration of contaminants via broken pipes, a “Boil Water” notice will be issued by the Ministry of Health in conjunction with the Barbados Water Authority after a storm.  If this occurs, you will want to have a safe and adequate drinking water supply in your home until service can be restored.

To do this, you will need to purify the water by using one of three methods:

  1. Boiling
  2. Using Hypochlorite Bleach
  3. Using Purification Tablets

 

Boiling

Boil vigorously for 3 to 5 minutes and let cool.  You can add a pinch of salt, or pour back and forth between two containers to improve the taste.

Using Hypochlorite Bleach

  • Liquid bleach from the home laundry or grocery store will work well.  Do Not use a bleach that has a fragrance or scenting agent, like a lemon scent.
  • Read the label to find the percentage of chlorine available.  It should be 5.25%.
  • Add 8 drops to a gallon of water and let stand at least 30 minutes.  (1 teaspoon = approximately 100 drops.)  If no dropper is available, use 1/8 teaspoon.
  • If the water has a strong chlorine smell after 30 minutes, pour back and forth between two clean jugs or containers.

 

Using Purification Tablets

Purchase from a drug store and follow the directions given.

 

Storing purified water

  • To keep drinking water safe from contamination, it should be stored in clean, non-corrosive, tightly covered containers.
  • Prepare two quarts of water per day for each family member and any family pets.
  • To increase shelf life of water, group bottles in dark plastic trash bags to keep light out.  Store containers in a cool, dark location.

CAUTION:  Make sure children do not mistake bottles containing hazardous substances with bottles used for drinking water.

 

Ensuring clear Sewer Lines

During and after a hurricane, the Authority’s sewerage system may become compromised.  To ensure that there are no problems with the connection between your home and the Authority’s sewer lines after a natural disaster, take the following precautions in the pre-hurricane stage:

  • Ensure that all drainage pipes/sewer lines are flowing freely by using a sewer snake, wire or hose to clear any blockages that might occur within the line.
  • DO NOT dispose of any hand paper, sanitary napkins, towels, diapers, plastic bottles or bottles in any plumbing fixture or drain.
  • Check and clean your grease-trap, removing and collecting any oil or grease collected in a bag for disposal as solid waste.
  • Any difficulties being experienced while cleaning outside the property or its junction box should be referred to the BWA for attention.

 

 

 

Information compiled by the BWA’s Marketing/Communications Department

How much water should be stored for Hurricane Season?

The Barbados Water Authority (BWA) wishes to advise the public that it is important to store an adequate supply of water for you, your family and your pets during the hurricane season.

The minimum recommended amount for drinking, food preparation and personal hygiene is five (5) gallons per person, per day for at least five (5) days. Additionally, water must be stored in clean, covered containers.

Please follow the guidelines of the Ministry of Health for further information on safe water storage.

The Authority would like to urge all Barbadians to always be prepared and stay safe during this hurricane season.

Who is responsible for a leak?

All plumbing issues and/or leaks between the meter and a customer’s premises remain their responsibility, the BWA only repairs leaks or corrects problems between the main and the water meter.                                                                            

How do I detect a leak?

Detecting Leaks – Stop That Drip!

Leaks in your water system can account for up to 10% of your water bill. Check your entire system for leaks periodically by using the following steps:

  1. Locate the water meter and take the meter reading by noting the black and white numbers that record individual usage in cubic metres (m3).
  2. Wait at least 5 to 15 minutes without using water. Look at the meter again and see if the numbers have changed. If it has, there is a leak somewhere in your plumbing. If the change is slight then you might have a slow or intermittent leak.
  3. Waiting longer between readings (overnight, for instance) might help detect slow or intermittent leaks. You can do this by reading your meter twice – first at night when everyone is finished using water for the day and then first thing in the morning before water has been used by anyone.
  4. Find the difference by subtracting the first reading from the second to calculate how much water (if any) leaked or passed though the meter overnight.
  5. To locate the leak, you will need to have both the outside and inside plumbing checked.
  6. Check every faucet for leaks. Even a slow drip can waste up to 75 litres a day!
  7. Check the toilets for leaks by adding food colouring to the water in the tank. DO NOT FLUSH. Wait 5 to 15 minutes to see if the coloured water appears in the toilet bowl. If it does, there is a leak in the system. Repairing toilet leaks is normally inexpensive and easy to do. Replacement part kits are available at most hardware stores.
  8. Listen for gurgling or hissing sounds coming from your toilet. These noises indicate that the flush ball needs to be adjusted to stop wasting water.
  9. Checks on the outside can be done by turning off your stopcock and then open a faucet to verify that the valve is working – the water flow should stop completely. Go back outside to the meter to see if it continues to register water use with the stopcock off. If it does, there is a leak somewhere in your plumbing between the meter and the stopcock.
  10. After making repairs, repeat the meter reading procedure to verify that there are no more leaks.

 

Information compiled by the BWA’s Marketing/Communications Department

How to calculate your Bill?

BWA’s bills for domestic customers are calculated according to four rates blocs and the charges are determined over a 30-day period. The rate blocs are as follows:

 

  • $2.48 per m3 (0-8 m3);
  • $3.10 per m3 (9-20 m3);
  • $4.66 per m3 (21-40 m3) and
  • $7.78 per m3 (over 40 m3).

 

If the customer used the water in a 30-day billing period then either the minimum charge or the rate blocs apply to determine the overall charge. The daily average formula may also be used.

 

Minimum Charge

 

e.g. 1

Meter reading indicates usage is 9 m3 in 30 days, this falls within the minimum amount (less than 12 m3) for which the minimum charge of $32 is applied.

[384 ($32 x 12 months) ÷ 365 (days) x 30 (days) = $31.56]

 

e.g. 2

Meter reading indicates usage is 8 m3 in 35 days, this falls within the minimum amount (less than 12 m3) for which the minimum charge is applied. However, since the number of days exceeds 30, then the overall charge is calculated using the daily average formula. [384 ÷ 365 x 35 = $36.82]

 

So for using 8 m3, the minimum charge does apply but must be prorated as the number of bill days exceeds 30.

 

Rate Blocs

 

e.g. 3

Meter reading indicates usage is 21 m3 in 30 days –

 

the first 8 are billed @ 2.48 =  19.84

the next 12 @ 3.10               = 37.20

the final 1 @ 4.66                 =  4.66

Charge                                = $ 61.70

 

If the timeframe in which the meter is read exceeds or is less than 30 days then the amount is prorated over the actual number of days between meter readings.

 

The formula for calculating a bill for a period other than 30 days is done on a daily average and worked out as follows:

 

8 ÷ 30 × number of days in billing period = # of m³ to be billed @ 2.48

12 ÷ 30 × number of days in billing period = # of m³ to be billed @ 3.10

20 ÷ 30 × number of days in billing period = # of m³ to be billed @ 4.66

Remaining m³ calculated                                             to be billed @ 7.78

 

NB: All blocs may not be used.

 

Example 1

 

Customer A used 46m³ in a 35-day billing period

 

8 ÷ 30×35 = 9.33m³ @ 2.48   =    23.14

12 ÷ 30×35 = 14.00m³ @ 3.10 =   43.40

46 – 23.33 = 22.67m³ @ 4.66 =   105.64

Charge                             =    $ 172.18

 

Example 2

 

Customer B used 46m³ in a 31-day billing period

 

8 ÷ 30×31 = 8.27m³ @ 2.48 =     20.51

12 ÷ 30×31 = 12.40m³ @ 3.10 = 38.44

20 ÷ 30×31 = 20.67m³ @ 4.66 = 96.32

46 – 41.34 = 4.66m³ @ 7.78    = 36.25

Charge                                = $191.52

 

Example 3

 

Customer C used 46m³ in a 28-day billing period

 

8 ÷ 30×28 = 7.47m³ @ 2.48 =       18.53

12 ÷ 30×28 = 11.2m³ @ 3.10 =     34.72

20 ÷ 30×28 = 18.67m³ @ 4.66 =   87.00

46 – 37.34 = 8.66m³ @ 7.78     =   67.37

Charge                                  = $207.62

 

Example 4

 

Calculation for usage of 120m³ over a 60-day billing period as compared with two (2) bills generated for usage of 60m³ over a 30-day billing period each.

8m³ × 2.48                      = 19.84
12m³ × 3.10                    = 37.20
20m³ × 4.66                    = 93.20
60 – 40 = 20m³ × 7.78 = 155.60
       Charge                  =$305.84

Charge for one month = $305.84
Charge for two months  = $611.68 ($305.84 x 2)

8 ÷ 30 × 60 = 16m³ @ $2.48   = 39.68
12 ÷ 30 × 60 = 24m³ @ $3.10              = 74.40
20 ÷ 30 × 60 = 40m³ @ $4.66 = 186.40
120 – 80 = 40m³ @ 7.78         = 311.20
   Charge                                 = $611.68

Please note in example 4 that whether billed separately or together using BWA’s formula the charge is the same.

 

Sewage Tariff

Remember if as a domestic customer you are connected to one of the island’s two sewage treatment plants, a sewage tariff of 1/3 of the water bill is charged to your account monthly.

 

Commercial Customers

 

BWA’s bills for commercial customers are calculated according to the commercial rate of $4.66 per m3 and the charges worked out for the entire billing period in question.

 

Example

Meter reading indicates usage is 31 m3 in 34 days.

[31 x 4.66 = $144.46]

 

Sewage Tariff

Remember if as a commercial customer you are connected to one of the island’s two sewage treatment plants, a sewage tariff of 2/3 of the water bill is charged to your account monthly.

 

Estimated Bills

 

Estimated bills are calculated by the system using the same rate blocs regardless of the number of days  they are not prorated.  Once the meter is read in the following month or months, the system goes back to the last meter reading and makes the calculation accordingly. Any payments that were made during this period are then subtracted from the total and the remaining balance charged to the account.

 

The criteria used by the system to calculate estimated charges are as follows:

 

  1. The previous month’s reading once there was one reflecting consumption OR
  2. The same month of the previous year OR
  3. The highest recorded usage in the period referred to as winter or summer peak.
  4. If none of the above criteria can be applied to the account, then the system uses the BWA generated average usage per household of 14 m3.

 

 

Customers whose meters are read in Imperial Gallons

 

There are still a few customers whose meters are read in Imperial Gallons (Imp gal.) and NOT in cubic meters (cu 3). The calculation of bills for these customers is different from the methods stated above.

 

The bills for these accounts are usually calculated in thousands of gallons while the water rates are stated in cubic metres, therefore the rates at which said bills are calculated will be different from those previously stated.

 

To calculate the rates used in these instances a converter is first worked out by dividing 1,000 gallons (each unit) by 220 gallons ( 1 cu 3) = 4.545454  This figure is then used as the multiplier on the four rate blocs

 

  • $2.48 per m3 (0-8 m3);
  • $3.10 per m3 (9-20 m3);
  • $4.66 per m3 (21-40 m3) and
  • $7.78 per m3 (over 40 m3)

 

which for the purposes of calculating these types of bills, then become

 

  • $11.27272 per unit (0-8 m3);
  • $14.09090 per unit (9-20 m3);
  • $21.18181 per unit (21-40 m3) and
  • $35.3636 per unit (over 40 m3).

 

 

Example

 

Customer A used 8 Imp gal in a 29-day billing period

 

8 ÷ 30×29 ÷ 4.545454 = 1.70 units @ 11.27272        =    19.17

12 ÷ 30×29 ÷ 4.545454 = 2.55 units @ 14.09090      =     35.93

8 – 4.25 = 3.75 units @ 21.18181                              =     79.43

Charge                                                           =            $ 134.53

 

Any customers who require in depth explanation of their bills are advised to call or come to the Barbados Water Authority’s Customer Service Centre for such.

 

 

Information compiled by the BWA’s Marketing/Communications Department

How do I handle Water Emergencies?

What to do and How to do it

During an emergency or disaster, the water supply to your home may be cut off or undrinkable due to contamination from broken pipes. If water service has been interrupted or an announcement has been made stating that the water supply is contaminated and not safe to drink, your water should be shut off at your ball valve.  Make sure everyone in your home knows where this valve is located.  It is normally located near the water meter. The ball valve should be operated from time to time to provide water, if available, for sanitary services only. Under such circumstances, you and your family may be on your own to provide a safe and adequate water supply for consumption until service can be restored.

 

Good Water Sources

Water may be obtained from: ice cubes, your hot water tank, your toilet tank (not bowl) and canned goods.  Be sure to turn off gas or electricity, if not already off, to the hot water tank before draining off water for emergency use.  The water valve to the hot water tank should also be turned off.  Rainwater can be collected and purified as outlined below.

 

How to Purify Water

Boiling Boil vigorously for 3 to 5 minutes.
Purification Tablets Purchase from drug store and follow directions.
Hypochlorite Bleach Liquid household bleach can be used. It must contain Hypochlorite, preferably 5.25%. (Do not use granular bleach, it is poisonous!) Bleach should not be over 6 months old. Use 8 drops per gallon of water and let stand for a minimum of 30 minutes before using.
Tincture of Iodine Same as bleach. If you must use toilet tank water, boil before using. Do not use chemically treated “blue” water. (Be careful! Most gadgets that claim they purify water are designed for microbiologically safe water only.) If water contains solids, strain water through paper towels, coffee filters or several layers of clean cloth into a container to remove any sediment or floating matter, then boil.

Storing Purified Water

To keep water safe from contamination, it should be stored in clean, non-corrosive, tightly covered containers.  Use ½ gallon or 1 gallon containers, preferably made of heavy opaque plastic with screw on caps.  Clearly mark containers with current date and use or discard within one year.  Empty household bleach bottles are good if clearly labelled, to contain water.  There is usually enough bleach left in an empty bleach bottle to purify the water when you fill and store it.  CAUTION:  Children should not identify bottles which normally contain a hazardous substance as a container for pure drinking water.  Plastic milk bottles are another alternative, but this type of container should not be your first choice.  They are very difficult to wash clean.

 

Store Containers in a Cool, Dark Location

To increase shelf life of water, group bottles in dark plastic trash bags to keep light out.  Prepare two quarts of water per day for each family member and any family pets.  A family of four will need at least 28 gallons of pure water for a two-week supply.  Inspect containers every six weeks for leaks or any other undesirable conditions that may have developed.  If stored water tastes flat, it probably lacks air.  To aerate, simply pour the water from one container to another, three or four times.  NOTE:  Do not use swimming pool water for drinking purposes unless boiled, as it can cause diarrhea.  Use only after and if other sources of pure water are exhausted.  Do not use water stored in waterbeds.  Vinyl plastic releases undesirable chemicals into the stored water.  Keep a battery-powered radio with spare batteries on hand for use in case of a general power outage for information about the availability of water in your area.

How can I get a Personal Water Tank?

Personal Water Tank Solution Being Offered by BWA!

The Barbados Water Authority (BWA) in conjunction with the City of Bridgetown Credit Union Limited is spearheading a programme which allows persons who wish to purchase a Water Tank for their home to do so at an affordable price.

The “Interest Free Full Tank Solution”, as the package is dubbed, includes the installation of a 400 gallon tank, a pump, the concrete base for the tank as well as all the necessary plumbing fittings required for setup. For further information or enquiries please call 836-4734.

Resources

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Office Opening Hours:
Mon-Fri: 8:30 am – 4:30pm

Cashiers:
Mon-Fri: 8:30 am – 4:30pm

Telephone:
246-434-4292

Call us :
Mon-Sun: 8:30 am to 12 Midnight
(Inclusive of Weekends and Bank Holidays)

E-Mail:
[email protected]