BWA shutdown to safeguard equipment

The Barbados Water Authority (BWA) delayed shutting off the system for as long as they could, but eventually had to do so to safeguard equipment.

That is the word from Director of Engineering, Charles Leslie, who told The Nation that was not always the case.

“We normally do a controlled shutdown. We would have done it in [Hurricane] Elsa to ensure equipment is turned off safely,” Leslie said.

They were responding to criticism on social media that not enough notice was given to customers, some of whom complained they saw the announcement after the essential service was already shut off as the island prepares for Hurricane Beryl. Notice came after 6 p.m. that the water would be off by 7:30 p.m.

“In the past when we did not do that – we tried to ride through it without shutting off – because we had power lines going down and surges at the stations, we ended up getting equipment damaged. Once the equipment is damaged, it takes a longer time to get the system back up; that is why we prefer to do the controlled shutdown. We try to do it as late as possible so customers could still get water.”

Since Friday, the BWA has been publishing notices, urging members of the public to store an adequate supply of water for their needs during the weather system which was still a tropical depression at the time. Since then, Beryl has grown to a category 4 hurricane.

Leslie said in the past, the shutoff was done without prior notice, but this time an announcement was made.

“We couldn’t give a specific time because we had to meet with the operations team and get the latest update from the Met Office, so we shut off as late as we could.”

Leslie said because of the controlled shut off during Hurricane Elsa, within two days, water was fully restored to Barbados. He said a fight against Mother Nature was one you couldn’t win.

“Once the all clear is given, our people will go out to do our checks.  If [Barbados] Light & Power is down, we will start back up with generators because all of the stations have generators. Once there is no damage, we will be up as quickly as possible,” he assured Barbadians.

Meanwhile, the Barbados Light & Power Co. Ltd says it has no plans of shutting off electricity. (SAT)

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