CDB approves USD39.5m to upgrade water supply network in Barbados

In recent years, water outages have become more acute in Barbados, particularly in St. John, St. Andrew and St. Joseph in the north and east. With these outages, households and businesses have been disrupted and the most vulnerable—the aged, sick and disabled—put at risk. Water facilities, storage reservoirs and pipes require urgent repairs to adequately serve the population of Barbados. In addition, high electricity costs continue to impact negatively on the Barbados Water Authority’s (BWA) operations.

On December 10, The Board of Directors of the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) approved a loan of USD39.5 million to the Government of Barbados to help upgrade the country’s water supply network. The financing will provide the urgent help needed to tackle the issues of ageing infrastructure, increasing water outages and operational efficiency, which challenge the Water Sector in the country.

 “Through the Water Supply Network Upgrade Project, we will help the Government of Barbados address some of the most pressing needs in the Barbados Water Sector. This financing will support the Barbados Water Authority’s commitment to becoming more energy efficient, preparing for climate change impacts, fixing failing infrastructure and improving company operations,” said Daniel Best, Director of Projects, CDB.

Specifically, the project will support

  • an upgrade of existing above-ground infrastructure, which will improve occupational health and safety for field staff; make water production facilities more secure; and improve the structural integrity of water storage reservoirs
  • the replacement and refurbishment of reservoirs, to tackle issues of corrosion and compromised structures and withstand natural disasters
  • measures to reduce non-revenue water, including replacing mains in the Applewhaites, Golden Ridge, Bowmanston, Alleynedale and Half Acre systems
  • installation of four solar photovoltaic plants to improve energy efficiency and reduce electricity costs, while paying attention to withstanding the impacts climate change could have on plant infrastructure
  • training for BWA staff, including the certification of water operators and boosting knowledge in the area of non-revenue water reduction

This project builds on BWA’s survey of the condition of its infrastructure; an assessment of future demand for water; and recommendations that the water supply infrastructure be upgraded.

The Water Supply Network Upgrade Project is consistent with CDB’s Country Strategy Paper for Barbados (2015-2018). Funding from the Bank also includes an allocation from resources provided by the European Investment Bank to CDB under the Climate Action Line of Credit. The BWA has committed an investment of USD4.57 million for the project.