“Self-Reliance & Sustainable Development” – Water

NB – This continues the ongoing transcription of a 2002 ‘Manifesto for a Democratic Socialist Bermuda’, which I wrote for the purpose of initiating discussion about organising a democratic socialist (DS) Party in Bermuda. I am reproducing it here for it’s historical interest, it’s role in the genesis of this blog itself, and for the purpose of stimulating discussion in the future.

Water

Bermuda possesses no fresh-water springs, rivers or ponds and lakes with potable water.

The vast majority of fresh-water consumption is based on rain-water catchment (mainly from roofs, but also from various surface catchments). This water supply is further supplemented by desalinisation plants (mostly in private hands, notably the various large hotels) and wells siphoning ‘fresh’ grey-water from Bermuda’s underground lens.

The City of Hamilton, along with parts of the surrounding area, possesses a central plumbing system, including sewage, mostly using grey (not potable) well-water. Aside from this area supply is largely ‘atomistic’ with each house relying on its own roof for collecting rainwater.

As a result of this general water scarcity, Bermudians are traditionally conservative concerning water consumption, largely due to the high cost of potable fresh-water provided via water truck deliveries.

This tradition of conservative water consumption should be continued, especially through education. The high cost of tank refill is largely responsible for this, and, even under a democratic socialist state, this same motivation may be continued. Naturally it is not the policy of the DS to allow the population to dehydrate, but water may, and should, be rationed when necessary.

The underground lens is often subject to great stress during droughts, and it is possible that it may collapse – and furthermore its fresh-water is already largely contaminated by various chemicals, heavy metals and septic tank leakage (hence the restriction, without treatment, of its use solely as grey-water).

It should be the DS policy to steer away from dependence on the lens and towards desalinisation plants. These plants do not appear (though further long-term studies are required!) to have a negative impact on the environment, and may also be used to produce salt and hydrogen gas.

With the nationalisation of the hotels will come the nationalisation of their desalinisation plants also. Should these remain below requirement, further plants may be constructed accordingly.

Other policies that will assist in water conservation would include a sewage treatment plant for the City’s (and St. George’s) connected system, essentially recycling grey-water. While it is questionable if such a system can be expanded island-wide, the potential for individual residential treatement systems, to provide grey-water for domestic consumption (not for drinking!) could be explored. Similarly, the installation of water-saving toilets and urinals should be further developed.

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