Desmond Brown reports that “Two years after a severe drought wreaked havoc with a number of Caribbean countries, some are now adopting new strategies in a bid to prevent a repeat of a situation where countries were rationing water and imposing strict restrictions on residents.” He focuses on the situation in Dominica, Antigua and Barbuda, and St. Lucia. See excerpts with a link to the full article below.
“We have embarked on a programme geared towards management of the catchment areas, which includes preventing deforestation, agricultural activities and use of chemicals in protected areas and overall limiting human activities in protected areas,” said Bernard Ettinoffe, general manager of the Dominica Water and Sewage Company (Dowasco). [. . . ] “We have also embarked on educational programmes at the schools and community levels aimed at raising awareness of the need for conservation of water resources and more recently have begun giving consideration to an Integrated Water Resource Management Approach to the management of land and water resources.”
Ettinoffe said Dominica, like many other countries, has seen some decline in water levels in rivers and streams, but that the island, also known as the nature isle, still boasts of an abundance of good quality fresh water.
[. . . ] The neighbouring twin-island state of Antigua and Barbuda is reporting higher than normal rainfall over the past 12 months. “Our surface water resources are at max capacity,” Ivan Rodrigues, water manager of the Antigua Public Utilities Authority (APUA), told IPS. But in spite of the higher than normal rainfall, an Antiguan meteorologist [Keithley Meade] has expressed concern that not enough rainwater is being caught. “The rainfall mostly does not even get to the aquifers (water stored in the ground), since the runoff is pretty fast.”
Even with their increased focus on water management, financial constraints will prevent representatives of the tiny islands in the Caribbean from attending a major gathering next week to discuss this vital commodity – the 6th World Water Forum in Marseille, France from Mar. 12-17.
[. . .] “DOWASCO will certainly be keeping an eye on the meeting and will be looking forward to reviewing the findings and recommendations,” Ettinoffe said, noting particular attention would be paid to the issue of climate change. “Climate change and climate variability is as real to Dominica as to many other countries. We are experiencing more intense rainfall and also occasional drier spells, both of which come with their own challenges which must be managed. More intense rainfalls result in siltation of streams and rivers and greater need for water treatment and even the need to shut the supply down at times. During drier periods, there is always need for caution and conservation.”
Salinisation of fresh groundwater is yet another concern for Caribbean islands.
For full article, see http://ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=107014