WATER, AIR and food are the most essential needs of mankind. Water is essential for several processes necessary for life on this planet. Animals and plants need it for their existence. Both show some adaptability to the supply, but we human beings need a continuous supply.
Barbadians over the years have taken this resource for granted and have used it indiscriminately through wastage. By now we should be aware that this is a water-scarce country and with the phenomenon of climate change this factor is being driven home.
Last year and in 2013 we received approximately half of total rainfall in an average year.
This reality and other contributory factors have resulted in water outages in several communities. ln some areas outages have persisted for weeks with the attendant inconvenience to the residents who happen to live in the affected areas.We need to be sensitised to the importance of this resource and not use it as though we have an infinite supply.
Over the years we have been told that 50 per cent of pumped water is lost through leakage on a daily basis, the result of ancient mains. There is a cost factor to this loss, with water not reaching consumers for whom it was intended. At a micro level, conservation measures among consumers could be implemented to save water.
These include but are not limited to installing more efficient water-saving toilet bowls and kitchen taps, the use of buckets of water instead of hoses to wash vehicles, reduction of shower time, utilising of kitchen waste water for agricultural purposes and the use of rainwater for the same purpose.
At the macro level damning of water courses can be done, inter- parochial sharing of water. With increased construction, and increased tourism numbers the demand for this precious resource is bound to increase. Lack of potable water is a signature feature of Third World countries. Even Israel and Middle Eastern countries do not suffer from this deficiency.
National sensitisation to climate change and its global effect on water resources and a more proactive response by suppliers are necessary as we go forward.
– PHILIP HUNTE