Reproduced from Andrew Simpson’s Facebook page.
Yesterday I attended, as a member of BAPE; on the invitation of the BWA, a meeting to address water scarcity and to build a roadmap toward achieving water security. Dr Mwansa made a presentation which was prepared by Anthony Headley that outlined hydrological, regulatory and universal understanding. Accepting that Barbados is deemed a ‘water scarce’ country, based on the precipitation which can be accessed, clearly demonstrated the importance for careful management and wise utilization of this precious resource.
Along with the design, development and maintenance of a system to adequately harvest and store fresh water, with which our nation is naturally endowed; it was clear that the need to reduce, reuse and recycle equally relates to water; as it does to packaging and other lifestyle outputs. The idea of resource self-sufficiency must form part of the solution, with commercial / household USE of rainwater catchment, by way of implementing dual plumbing techniques along with any overflow being directed to the aquifer by using boreholes. In order that waste (grey water) be applied to suitable purposes; and for sewage (black water) to be recovered with treatment technologies where applicable, it is accepted that a national initiative will be required. A greater appreciation of the true value of piped water, in the meantime, is believed by many, to hold the greatest reductive potential for this scarce commodity. Such achievement can be immediate, by the GOB, through the PUB and FTC, implementing a tiered rate structure which attempts to place true value on the price tag for potable water. A doubling, trebling and quadrupling even, of the rate paid for consumption bands above essentially acceptable usage, based on the number of occupants in a household, or as otherwise qualified by acreage under food production, etc. would cause conservation and regeneration efforts to quickly follow.
Much technical writing is widely read and understood, thanks to our enviable education system, but exercise of practical knowledge seems rare. This conundrum is not specific but exists across the social spectrum. Stakeholders must unite in discovery and endeavor to join hands, link minds and bind hearts to rectify this dilemma. Most citizens acknowledge that the surrounding circumstances are less than ideal. The press and social media are reaching large segments society but somehow; the reality is not “hitting home” to those charged with the power to alter the way we react, as a people; toward the suffering of OTHERS. Is it a human callousness; a refusal to accept that we can do better, or simply that too many of us are so caught up in the mire of a frantic existence, that our sensitivity is diminished? This brings me, to what I believe to be, the heart of the matter – an ideological deficiency causing our perceived identity to be at odds with our true reality. The major underlying reason for this is an excess of socialist undertaking hampering the opportunity for true market freedom to manifest. The prosperity which naturally goes hand in hand with responsibility, to sustainably manage our natural resources and the environment around us, is being denied.
The challenge, at this historical juncture, is to build consensus, to correct anomalies that ‘encourage unhealthy practices’ while incentivizing right behaviors, to forge a way of life that balances tastes and economic provision. We must determine to work as a TEAM, toward this imperative. The faith exercised thus far, by our people has enabled our Nation to advance by leaps and bounds, over the course of the last fifty years, but has created a downside which needs to be managed. The interest costs alone, required to service the debt which successive governments have ‘chalked up’, has become unbearable. Coupled with the ongoing appetite for increased salaries, wages and conditions associated with the ‘army of occupation’ supposedly needed to provide these services, to which we have apparently become accustomed, are financially unsustainable.
A paradigm shift, in the way that the ‘ship of state’ is operated, and a course change, now desperately required, must be undertaken. The father of our independence, The Right Honorable Errol Walton Barrow, in his famous “Mirror Image” speech, suggested that we consider what image we have of ourselves. This sentiment; no, this ultimatum is more pertinent now than ever. “All hands on deck” must be the battle cry of ALL, if we are to move ever forward.
God Bless Barbados.