January 17, 2014
Water storage facilities to be constructed to reduce shortages

With adverse effects of climate change taking place in the Caribbean, it is important for the islands to take the necessary steps to combat these changes.{{more}}

On Wednesday, as part of the Reducing Risk to Human and Natural Assets Resulting from Climate Change (RRACC) project, five buildings were officially handed over to contractors to begin work for a rainwater harvesting initiative.

These buildings: the Sandy Bay Government School, Langley Park Government, Georgetown Community Centre, Richland Park Government School and Park Hill Government School were chosen to be a part of the project, based on their capacity to be used as shelters in times of natural disasters.

Rupert Lay, water specialist for RRACC, explained that the project is one that deals with the adaptation of climate change, with the hope of reducing stressors experienced from an event that is triggered by climate change.

“A good example is what happened recently, which affected St Vincent as well as St Lucia and some other islands,” Lay said.

“The country has also identified instances where…there is drought and so on and so this project aims to reduce the stressors that can occur because of low supplies of water”.

Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Transport and Works Hudson Nedd also observed that the recent Christmas Eve flash floods is a perfect example of why a project of this nature is important.

“It’s important that we are able to enhance or increase our national capacity for water storage and in critical facilities. And this project promises to enhance our adaptation to these situations,” he said.

Nedd also noted that this is a pilot project and if successful, will be implemented on other buildings as well.

Stakeholders include the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), USAID, who is also funding the project, and the Ministry of Transport and Works, Ministry of Education, as well as the Ministry of Health, Wellness and the Environment.

Janeel Miller-Findlay, from the Ministry of Health, indicated that one of their functions will be to monitor the water quality.

“It is rain water harvesting, so it means that water will be collected; so we need to make sure that it is in a state that is suitable for human consumption,” she said.

Contractors from Sea Operations Ltd will complete works on Sandy Bay Government School, Langley Park Government and Georgetown Community Centre, valued at approximately EC$450,000, while Frederick Construction Ltd is expected to complete works on Richland Park Government School and Park Hill Government School valued at EC$327,945.

A rainwater harvesting system is also expected to be installed at the Liberty Lodge Training Centre.

All works are expected to be completed by June 2014.(BK)