Thursday, April 18, 2024

BWA to help in water-saving drive


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Householders will soon be getting help from the Barbados Water Authority (BWA) to save money through special interest-free loans to have water-saving devices installed.

And the days of business owners paying the same water rates as householders will soon be over.

Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Mia Mottley, in the Financial Statement And Budgetary Proposals on Wednesday, said Government found it prudent to help people conserve water.

“We believe the Barbados Water Authority should make available, interest-free loans for a 24-month period to allow those households that want to change out their toilets, faucets and shower heads to water-saving devices.”

Mottley said a family of four with such devices could save $769 per year.

“For those who don’t have the cash up front, we’re going to put a system in place where you can register with the Barbados Water Authority, have it done and then added to your bill, and you can pay, interest-free, up to two years.”

She was also concerned that businesses were not paying rates like householders.

“Companies in Barbados pay $7.66 per cubic metre for water, irrespective of how much they use. Households pay $4.66 when they use between 20 and 40 cubic metres, but $7.78 when they use over 40 cubic metres, which has existed for nine years. 

“It cannot continue. Water is still a scarce commodity.

“Businesses should pay more for water than households. It is not an increase in rates, but simply applying to businesses, the rates they should have been charged to keep it at the same rates of households,” she told a packed House of Assembly in her first full Budget presentation.

Effective May 1, the commercial rate will move from a fixed $4.66 per cubic metre for all water levels up to 40 cubic metres and then $7.78 for usage in excess of 40 cubic metres, with a monthly cap of 12 000 cubic metres, after which the rate reverts to $4.66.

This tariff change is expected to result in a net revenue increase of $2.1 million per month for BWA.

Mottley said the BWA has more than $200 million in urgent investment needs, half of which will is deal with repair of the South Coast Sewerage Project, and it is clear a review and change in the country’s infrastructure is needed.

She added Government would target that change with a three-pronged approach.

“We have already started to reduce some of the inflated contracts. We will continue the urgent financing requests with the CDB (Caribbean Development Bank) with respect to projects, and we have to correct this anomaly with the tariffs.” (BA)


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