The Ministry of Agriculture, Food, Fisheries and Water Resource Management has obtained funding from the Inter-American Development Bank for a major mains replacement programme.
This was disclosed yesterday by Deputy Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Lennox Chandler, as he delivered opening remarks at a seminar on Water Management, Health and Climate Adaptation in Barbados, at the 3ws Pavilion at the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus.
Chandler said that the mains replacement programme, which is expected to begin this year, was part of a plan to address climate change and water scarcity on the island. He pointed out that the programme was designed to upgrade the existing water distribution network which was somewhat outdated, in an effort to “reduce the level of non-revenue water and pumping costs”.
The Deputy Permanent Secretary also revealed that the ministry had obtained funding from the United Nations Environmental Programme to implement and develop a web-based Integrated Water Resources Management Information System and Database which would allow data to be easily shared among a number of government entities.
Alluding to other measures being undertaken by the Ministry to tackle the pending issues, he mentioned a Comprehensive Review of the Groundwater Protection Zoning Policy which was conducted. He noted that the review “recommended some changes to the existing zoning system to address various land use practices”, and from that document a draft Groundwater Management Act was prepared.
“The complexity of the climate change scenarios and cost of some of the adaptation strategies make it imperative that the adaptation measures chosen are based on sound research and can, therefore, be implemented with a great degree of confidence in their applicability and sustainability. This requires collaboration between research and teaching institutions, water resources management practitioners and industry,” Chandler stated.
The official stressed that there was a need for more work to be done regarding climate change and water scarcity.
“These adaptation measures include: improving water resources management and governance … improving water use efficiencies through the use of efficient water use fixtures, reduction in non-revenue water levels and other water conservation practices … [and] augmenting water supplies through the use of non-conventional water sources such as treated waste water and desalination,” he outlined.