After US Embassy alert, health officials in Barbados assure public that tap water is safe to drink

Running faucet. Image credit: Steve Johnson
Water and sanitation

Last week the US Embassy in Barbados issued an alert to staff about the quality of tap water on the island. However, government officials categorically maintain that tap water in Barbados is safe to drink:

A day after the United States Embassy sent out a health alert to its staff in Barbados, advising that the tap water may not be safe to drink, health authorities are insisting that the island’s water supply meets World Health Organization’s (WHO) standards.

Yesterday, in a brief message that was posted on its website, the US Embassy said recent tests at several US Embassy residences revealed “bacteria at elevated levels in the tap water”.

As a precautionary measure, the US Embassy recommended to its staff that they boil their drinking water or use bottled water, and follow the US Centers for Disease Control directions on how to stay healthy and safe.

The Embassy did not mention the ongoing sewage spill on the south coast of the island, but the alert came two weeks after it issued another health alert about the overflow of raw sewage affecting the water quality at some beaches. That previous alert advised US citizens to beware of sewage in the streets and avoid water activities in the affected areas.

At a press conference called today, Minister of Foreign Affairs Senator Maxine McClean and Minister of Health John Boyce sought to assure that Barbados’ drinking water is safe.

Senator McClean maintained that the Barbados Water Authority (BWA) followed WHO protocols for testing the island’s drinking water supply,

“We are assured by the relevant competent authorities that the drinking water supply in Barbados remains safe. The agencies will continue to monitor the water supply system to ensure compliance with WHO guidelines in the interest of public health,” she said.

Read more from Caribbean360, Barbados Today, and the Barbados Advocate. See also: the Barbados government’s official statement on the water quality advisory.

Previously on Green Antilles: Sewage crisis in Barbados.


[Image credit: Steve Johnson]

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