Sobering news in the aftermath of World Water Day 2012: Barbados, one of the most water-scarce countries in the world, is reportedly losing large quantities of water to leakage and wastage:
Home Environment/Energy Water Situation in Barbados Threatens to Derail Island’s Green Economy Thrust
Water Situation in Barbados Threatens to Derail Island’s Green Economy Thrust
By CYEN Barbados Published Yesterday Environment/Energy Unrated
The average annual rainfall in Barbados seldom exceeds 1200 mm and according to the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations, this level of precipitation ranks the island as the 7th most water scarce country in the world. With a resident population approaching 280,000 citizens and a long stay tourism public surpassing the 500,000 mark, the debate on water availability needs to move beyond the scope of being a basic human right to considerations of sustainability, particularly in light of additional pressures placed on the island’s reserves by agriculture and industry.
Dr. David Estwick, Minister of Agriculture, Food, Fisheries and Water Resource Management at the ground-breaking Ceremony to launch the start of construction of the Barbados Water Authority’s new headquarters, noted that Non-Revenue Water (NRW), inclusive of leakage, has been estimated at approximately 50% of total water distributed. This is a matter of significant concern in light of this nation’s clear thrust towards developing Barbados as a green economic model for Small Island Developing State (SIDS) across the globe.
A key principle in the Green Economy process calls for the sustainable and efficient use of energy and resources but unfortunately, if large volumes of water are being lost through leakage, this means that a significant amount of government revenue is being pumped into the ground. Considering that the water distribution process is the biggest user of electricity on Barbados, accounting for $32 million annually, this unsustainable situation is one which could effectively hamper national efforts to implementing the Green Economy.
Also of concern are the findings of a recent study carried out by the Caribbean Youth Environment Network (CYEN), which indicates that while 94.5% of young Barbadians interviewed were aware that conserving water is important, yet 67.9% admitted to wasting it. This is an indication that significant work needs to be undertaken to ensure that citizens take water conservation seriously, as an effective Green Economy can not exist without the full participation of citizens.
As we look to join with the world in recognising World Water Day and partake in the activities which are happening on this day, CYEN encourages all Barbadians to step up and play their part to achieve sustainable water management.