LOOP CARIBBEAN: Residents of Antigua and Barbuda have been warned that the country’s water challenges could become worse if as much of the Caribbean is expected to experience drought conditions over the next three months.
The Barbados-based Caribbean Institute for Meteorology and Hydrology (CIMH) on Friday warned of long term drought that can “negatively” impact islands in the eastern Caribbean.
“Many parts of the region experienced above-normal rainfall in March, bringing some relief from dry conditions since late 2021. Despite this, there are concerns over long term drought that can negatively impact large rivers and reservoirs, and groundwater, by the end of May,” CIMH said in the Caribbean Drought Bulletin.
Chief of Staff at the Prime Minister’s Ambassador Lionel Hurst said conservation will be key for the struggling Antigua Public Utilities Authority (APUA) to meet the demands of customers before new reverse osmosis plants are constructed this year.
“Most Antiguans recognise that there is a drought but there is the expectation is that despite drought conditions they must be able to turn the tap on and get water flowing through that tap. And the question is can we meet that expectation? And the answer is that’s precisely the expectation we are trying to fulfil,” Hurst stated while speaking on Point FM on Saturday.
“It is a reasonable expectation. But we also add that we must engage in conservation. In other words, one cannot then take the water that is flowing through the tap, created by reverse osmosis to hose down the car.”
Hurst said one simple water conservation method could be repurposing water from laundry and dishwashing for gardening.
“These kinds of practices are going to help. It’s okay to want to have water in the tap 24 hours but it’s not okay to utilise the water as though it is a cheap substance. It is very expensive to make by reserve osmosis and we must apply our minds to reducing waste to the extent that it is possible,” Hurst said.
The water situation in Antigua and Barbuda is expected to improve by September with the installation of reserve osmosis plants.
A plant is currently under construction in Fort James and equipment is expected to arrive by the end of this month.
When completed, it will supply 500,000 gallons of water per day and it will increase to over one million gallons in the following months.
APUA requires 8 million gallons of water to meet the needs of customers.
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