Saltwater a threat to water supply in the north

Rising sea levels are reported to be affecting freshwater held in aquifers in the two northern parishes, prompting concerns about water supply and the health risks to Barbadians.

Public health questions associated with contaminated saltwater were raised on Tuesday in an address by Dr Ingrid Cumberbatch, medical officer of health, as environmental health officers began a three-day training workshop on water quality surveillance at the Pan American Health Organisation in Dayrells Road, St Michael.

“Presently, rising sea levels impact the freshwater held in coastal aquifers through saline intrusion,” said Cumberbatch. “This is particularly severe in the northern parishes of St Peter and St Lucy whereby it further diminishes Barbados’ scarce potable water availability.”

She described as “most concerning” the fact that water supply wells, when contaminated by saltwater, were not easily recoverable.

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