A US$50 million loan has been awarded by the Inter-American Development Bank for the installation of water meters and other network improvements in Barbados.

The loan, which is intended to improve the management and sustainability of water resources in Barbados, will support the Barbados Water Authority in its drive to modernize its infrastructure and make its operations more efficient.

Barbados ranks among the top 15 countries in the world in terms of water scarcity, with current groundwater extraction levels exceeding sustainable yields. As a result, further development, including a proliferation of requests for tourist developments, is constrained by the unavailability of fresh water.

The IDB loan will support the installation of 50,000 new meters and the implementation of upgraded billing and collection systems, as well as other network infrastructure improvements. These are expected to reduce unaccounted for water, currently running at 54 percent, by at least 10 percentage points. In turn, this will help strengthen BWA’s financial position.

Further with these and other actions to improve water quality and problems such as wastewater discharge, the BWA expects to see a 75 percent increase in customer satisfaction, defined as those qualifying the service as good or very good, by the end of the five-year program.

The government of Barbados is also supporting the initiative with US$3 million in local counterpart funds.