Barbados used to be a place where the water almost never went off. As a girl in Trinidad, water outages were a regular part of my experience, but when I moved to Barbados that became a thing of the past.
Things have changed.
In the last couple of years there have been regular water outages, and they seem to have stepped up recently.
This week was the worst in a while, with the water off for a full two days, and with virtually no warning. You never know how much you use water till it’s gone.
So, if you’re living in Barbados, it’s best to be alert to the signs.
1. Learn what your regular water pressure is so you will realise when it’s getting low.
2. Keep a few clean, empty bottles you can use for storing drinking water and water for ablutions if necessary.
3. If you notice low water pressure, start filling those bottles. If you have other bottles that aren’t clean, fill those too, as you can use them for flushing the loo.
4. Fill your kettle and any other large containers.
5. If cool water is a must, put one of the bottles in the fridge (because if your water dispenser is linked to your taps, you won’t get any).
6. Disinfect the water from your storage tank by adding a few drops of Dettol – that should make it safe for showering and washing up. [Disclaimer: I’m neither a doctor nor an expert on tropical bugs – do this at your own risk (though my mother, who used the same method in Guyana in her youth, is alive and well)].
One lucky thing is that most houses in Barbados have solar water heaters, with accompanying tanks, so you will be able to get water from the hot tap for a while after it goes off. Use it sparingly, though; it doesn’t last long.
Usually, on the first day, you can operate almost as normal, though perhaps drinking slightly less water than usual. If the water outage goes on much longer, you might be forced to seek a new way of getting clean. A dip in the sea followed by a rinse at the beach facility’s shower can be tremendously refreshing.