Water conservation

Amb Hurst: Key to water conservation for Antigua to overcome drought

Residents of Antigua and Barbuda have been warned that the country’s water problems could worsen if much of the Caribbean experiences drought conditions over the next three months.

The Barbados-based Caribbean Institute of Meteorology and Hydrology (CIMH) warned Friday of a long-term drought that could have a “negative” impact on the eastern Caribbean islands.

“Many parts of the region experienced above normal rainfall in March, bringing some relief to dry conditions since late 2021. Despite this, there are concerns over long-term drought which may impact negative on major rivers and reservoirs, and groundwater, by the end of May,” the CIMH said in the Caribbean Drought Bulletin.

Prime Minister’s Ambassador’s Chief of Staff Lionel Hurst says conservation will be key to fight Antigua Public Utilities Authority (APUA) to respond to customer requests ahead of new reverse osmosis plants being built this year.

“Most Antiguans recognize that there is a drought, but it is expected that despite the drought conditions, they must be able to turn on the tap and run the water through that tap. And the question is, whether we can meet that expectation? And the answer is that’s precisely the expectation that we’re trying to meet,” Hurst said during a talk on Point FM on Saturday.

“It’s a reasonable expectation. But we also add that we have to commit to conservation. In other words, you can’t then take the water that flows from the tap, created by reverse osmosis, to hose down the car. .

Hurst said a simple method of water conservation could be to reuse water from laundry and dishes for gardening.

“These kinds of practices will help. It’s good to want to have water in the tap 24 hours a day, but it’s not good to use water as if it were a cheap substance. It is very expensive to manufacture by reserve osmosis and we must focus on reducing waste wherever possible,” said Hurst.

The water situation in Antigua and Barbuda is expected to improve by September with the installation of reserve osmosis plants.

A factory is currently under construction in Fort James and the equipment should arrive by the end of this month.

When completed, it will provide 500,000 gallons of water per day and that will increase to over a million gallons in the following months.

APUA needs 8 million gallons of water to meet customer needs.