Just A Test: Barbados Says No Agreement On Taking Water From Suriname
BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, Thursday November 3, 2016 – The Barbados Water Authority (BWA) had admitted that it signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Suriname company Amazone Resources, which is preparing to ship two million litres of surface water this month.
But it insists it has not reached any agreement with the company to actually deliver water to the island.
Last Thursday, an article published by the Trinidad Newsday paper claimed the deal was reached with the Barbados government since April 2015. But the BWA said it was the government agency, and not the government itself, that had signed the agreement last month.
According to the BWA, Amazone Resources approached the authority in 2014 to participate and collaborate in investigating the feasibility of transporting freshwater from Suriname by barges that were designed in Holland and constructed in Spain to be tested.
The BWA said the MOU was only signed last month after “a prototype flex tank was deemed ready for delivery to Suriname from Spain, to barge a container of water to Barbados to test its viability.”
The BWA said the barge is expected to leave Suriname on November 22 and arrive in Barbados three days later.
“However, it was agreed that due to a lack of existing infrastructure in Barbados for the receipt of the water, storage and pumping and the need to establish the necessary water quality standards and importation control measures, the water in the barge would not be offloaded,” the BWA said.
It added that the shipment “is therefore only a test run to inform future decisions relative to cost, water quality monitoring and acceptance protocols, appropriate uses of the water and design and construction of appropriate receiving and pumping infrastructure”.
“Cost and risk assessment comparisons with the other augmentation options would also have to be done before a final decision is made,” the BWA said.
The BWA statement further explained that the importation of water was part of options being explored to ensure the long-term sustainability of the country’s supply.
It said this was nothing new, pointing out that following the 1997 water resources study, the authority had considered the option of importing water from Dominica but that was found to be more expensive than desalinated water. However, it added, that option was still deemed feasible and left open to future reviews.