Water, Water – Nowhere!

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.

Barbados - waterThings 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.

Catching Up With The Jays in Barbados

It’s been a while since we checked in with the Jays. Back in January, they visited Barbados to formally take possession of their new home, before heading back to the UK to pack up and make a permanent move.

A couple of weeks ago, they came back and started the process of making the house into a home and adapting to their new life in Barbados. That involved things like finding contractors to handle renovations, buying a car and discovering the delights of trying to get things done.

Minimalist  Barbados

In addition, they now have their own blog, titled Minimalist, where they chart their discoveries following downsizing and relocating. It makes great reading. Check it out for tales from the bureaucratic front, up to date pricing for furniture and food,  and lots of interesting anecdotes on the local culture and lifestyle. Check it out – and we’ll have occasional updates, too.

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Don’t miss the other posts in the series following the Jays’ move to Barbados:

  1. Move to Barbados – Meet the Jays
  2. The Jays Search for Barbados Property
  3. The Jays Move to Barbados: Choices, Choices
  4. The Big Decision: What Kind of Community?
  5. The Jays Brave the Bank
  6. The Jays: A Chequered Tale
  7. The Jays Move to Barbados – Special Delivery
  8. The Jays Move to Barbados – The Legal Bit
  9. The Jays Move to Barbados – What Will it Cost?
  10. The Jays: A Piece of the Rock

And see how we made our move in the From the Ground Up series.

The Jays: A Piece of the Rock

“We now own a fine piece of Bajan real estate! On the down side, we are now paupers and will be living on fish scraps,old fruit and road kill.”

The Jays: A Piece of the Rock

This was the update from the Jays in the middle of December, about 5 months after originally viewing the property.

As I write this, the Jays are on their way to the island to formally inspect the home and ensure that the previous owners have left all that was agreed.

But that’s not the end of the Jays’ story. They still have to accomplish the move (currently scheduled for the middle of 2014) and complete the process of getting their residency status approved. We’ll continue to follow their story as that happens.

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Don’t miss the other posts in the series following the Jays’ move to Barbados:

  1. Move to Barbados – Meet the Jays
  2. The Jays Search for Barbados Property
  3. The Jays Move to Barbados: Choices, Choices
  4. The Big Decision: What Kind of Community?
  5. The Jays Brave the Bank
  6. The Jays: A Chequered Tale
  7. The Jays Move to Barbados – Special Delivery
  8. The Jays Move to Barbados – The Legal Bit
  9. The Jays Move to Barbados – What Will it Cost?

And see how we made our move in the From the Ground Up series.

The Jays Move to Barbados – What Will it Cost?

When buying a home in Barbados, you need to think about costs. Some of these happen before the purchase. For example, the Jays wisely paid a quantity surveyor to check the property out before the purchase and he identified an area of damp. This helped with negotiations.

The Jays Move to Barbados – What Will it Cost?

 

Photo credit: Mark Morgan

Then there are there are utilities. Here’s how transferring works for electricity:

  • transfer service into new home owner’s name by sending a letter, and including a clear copy of your picture ID, contact information and a service charge of $23.50.
  • if a non-national, pay a deposit of $1,000/3 months’ billing.
    As I recall, there was a similar arrangement in place for the phone service. This can certainly add up.

And finally, you need to think about how much you will have to spend when you’re in the island. Here are some typical costs for running a 3,000 sq ft home housing a family of four:

  • Electricity – BD$250 per month
  • Water – BD$45 per month
  • Car insurance – BD$2000 per year (Ford Focus)
  • Home insurance – BD$3000 per year
  • Land tax – BD$3000 per year
  • Telephone/internet – BD$120 per month
  • Television package – BD$100 per month
  • Car tax – BD$430 per year
  • Food – BD$1000 per month

You can adjust upwards or downwards for the expected size of your home and the number of people living in your house.

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Don’t miss the other posts in the series following the Jays’ move to Barbados:

  1. Move to Barbados – Meet the Jays
  2. The Jays Search for Barbados Property
  3. The Jays Move to Barbados: Choices, Choices
  4. The Big Decision: What Kind of Community?
  5. The Jays Brave the Bank
  6. The Jays: A Chequered Tale
  7. The Jays Move to Barbados – Special Delivery
  8. The Jays Move to Barbados – The Legal Bit

And see how we made our move in the From the Ground Up series.