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IWRM Issues in the Caribbean

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Presentation made at GWP-C's first Regional Media Workshop on IWRM held in Barbados in December 2010.

Presentation made at GWP-C's first Regional Media Workshop on IWRM held in Barbados in December 2010.

Published in: Technology, Business

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  • 1. IWRM Issues in the Caribbean Presented by Floyd Homer [email_address]
  • 2. Purpose
    • To identify key issues that impact adversely on integrated water resources management.
  • 3. Issues Related to Implementation of IWRM in the Caribbean
    • Twenty-two issues have been identified.
    • Each has varying impacts on IWRM and depend on the systemic, institutional and individual capacities.
  • 4. Land Use Planning
    • All persons and organisations owning, occupying and developing land are under a duty to use such land with due regard for the wider interests both present and future of society as a whole.
    • The land use planning and regulating agency must give due consideration to water demand and supply and watershed management issues in the development of the National Physical Development Plan and in granting any planning approvals. 
    • Planning approvals for new developments must incorporate water resource management concerns.
  • 5. Comprehensive Water Resources Assessment
    • The Government must undertake continuous comprehensive water resources assessment to determine the sources, extent, dependability, and quality of water resources. 
    • This assessment must take into consideration temporal and geographical distribution, volume of the resources, weather-related normal and extreme variations, and human induced alterations. 
    • The water resources assessment must be an ongoing effort to constantly monitor the natural behaviour of the water body and human induced variations and alternations in hydrologic systems. 
  • 6. Water Resources Plan
    • Government should produce a comprehensive National Water Resources Plan that will cover a 25-year period and will be revised at least every five years.
    • The Plan must address the dynamics of water consumption from the standpoint of various economic sectors, as well as quality and quantity, and current land use and other environmental aspects. 
    • The Plan should be developed for river basins and the nation as a whole.
  • 7. Abstraction Licensing
    • Water is a finite economic resource....there is a cost of managing a country’s water resources in such a manner as to ensure the availability of this resource on a sustainable basis. 
    • The abstraction of any surface, ground, or coastal waters should require an abstraction license and such license should include a volume-based fee for abstraction.
    • The award of abstraction licenses should consider the rights of multiple users of the water resource, the protection and sustainable management of the water resource, and allocation priorities. 
  • 8. Designated Uses
    • In collaboration with all relevant national and local authorities, and the interested public, the Government should establish designated uses for all significant water bodies in the country (e.g. drinking water supply, environmental conservation, irrigation, aquaculture, recreation, domestic use other than drinking and industrial receiving water).
    •   The Government may designate an entire water body for multiple uses, or portions of the same water body for different uses. 
    • The Government may also designate water improvement areas and critical catchments. 
  • 9. Ambient Water Quality
    • The Government must establish ambient water quality criteria (parameter levels and/or water quality indices). 
    • These criteria will vary by water body on the basis of the designated use of the water body, sound scientific information about the sensitivity of the water body, and technical and economic feasibility. 
    • For each water body for which ambient water quality criteria are set, the Government should collect baseline data and monitor ambient water quality at specified frequencies to track progress towards achieving the criteria.
  • 10. Public Water Supply
    • Government must ensure the enhancement of the public water supply system to satisfy the quality and reliability requirements of public water demand.
    • Conservation and demand reduction; fresh water supply development; and other water supply development should be undertaken.
  • 11. Public Water Quality
    • The Government should establish minimum national standards for pipe-borne drinking water and maintain a public water supply free from contamination.
    • Such standards must be no less stringent than World Health Organisation guidelines, and should address all contaminants that could reasonably be expected to be present in the drinking water.
    • The Government should also establish standards for water that is designated for industrial, agricultural, or other non-drinking water use....such standards will be consistent with the intended use.
  • 12. Agricultural Water Management
    • Water management (drainage and irrigation) is a critical risk-reducing, yield-increasing and production-enhancing strategy in agricultural production.
    • Government should facilitate improved water management for agriculture consistent with national development and water allocation priorities. 
    • Where water management infrastructure is intended to serve a large number of farmers, the local communities must be involved at every stage of development, be it at planning, implementation, and operation and maintenance. 
  • 13. Seasonal Variation
    • The water cycle in the Caribbean is characterised by a seasonal variability between wet and dry periods which must be understood and catered for in the management of the country’s water resources. 
    • The country’s water resources must be managed in a proactive, year-round manner that plans for this natural seasonal variability.
    • Including establishment of systems for the collection of high wet season flows in storage facilities for dry season use, establishing improved upper watershed management programs to slow wet season runoff, establishing year-round conservation and demand management programs, improving drainage systems.
  • 14. Water (Hydrological) Cycle
  • 15. Water-Related Emergencies
    • Water-related emergencies include specific extreme events such as droughts, severe floods, storm surges, pollution and its related incidents/accidents and significant infrastructure failure. 
    • The approach to managing these specific extreme events will include prevention (land use planning and preventative maintenance programs), mitigation (maintenance of water reserves, flood plain planning, and early detection and warning systems), response (real-time crisis management, emergency action plans, and emergency relief), and rehabilitation (insurance, capital investment, and redevelopment).
  • 16. Flooding
    • Flooding is a natural phenomenon, the incidence of which is exacerbated by disturbance of watersheds and the impact of which is exacerbated by human development in flood prone areas. 
    • The Government must develop a flood management programme, including flood hazard mapping, flood water control, and restriction of development in flood prone areas.
  • 17. Watershed Management
    • Upstream activities (development, quarrying, deforestation, fires, agriculture) can frequently have significant downstream impacts (reduced water quality, flooding, wider seasonal fluctuations). 
    • Watershed management will play a critical role in the strategy for water resources management and should include broad-based stakeholders participation in its implementation.
  • 18. Water-Related Ecology
    • Water is critical to ecosystem function and the preservation and enhancement of the natural environment is critical to the country’s sustainable development.
    • Ecosystems are key elements in the preservation of life, the preservation of a healthy environment, and the generation of a safe water supply.
    • Water resources must be managed so as to maintain a minimum flow in rivers and streams of at least 20 percent of natural flows, taking into consideration seasonal and other natural fluctuations.
  • 19. Wetlands
    • Wetlands play a valuable role in terms of providing habitat to a wide variety of species, including commercial species, as well as providing opportunities for recreation and tourism, protection from pollution, and protection from flooding and storm surges.
    • Wetlands should be protected, managed or restored in order to sustain their ecological and socio-economic values and functions for current and future generations. 
  • 20. Climate Variability and Change
    • The combination of increased variability in climatic conditions and widespread changes in land use and ground cover could mean that historical meteorological and hydrological data are not likely to be the basis for determining predictions of future conditions.
    • Climate change may contribute to increased incidence of extreme weather conditions and sea level rise, with resultant saline intrusion and flood-related disasters in coastal areas. 
    • Government must take these factors into consideration in water resources.
  • 21. Wastewater
    • Improving the quality of wastewaters (both domestic and industrial) in the country will help to reduce any adverse impacts on the environment and human health.
    • Government should ensure that the wastewater sector develops and implements effective strategies and programmes for economic investment
    • The Government should also ensure the effective and environmentally sound operation of public and private wastewater systems.
  • 22. National Security
    • Government has a vested interest in ensuring that water is available for national security purposes, particularly for fighting fires, which can threaten human life and lead to significant economic loss. 
    • Water services providers must ensure that there is adequate supply and pressure to meet fire-fighting needs.
    • Government should implement biosecurity measures to protect against the depletion of native species and the invasion of non-native aquatic species.
  • 23. Pricing and Cost Recovery
    • One of the greatest challenges to water resources management has been the lack of full cost pricing for water. 
    • This has created two problems: 1) it has distorted price signals, leading to inefficient use and allocation of water; 2) it has deprived the system of sufficient funding for necessary operation, maintenance, and capital investment.
    • Water and wastewater management services should be priced that shows water as an economic good, to give the user a sense of its real value, to encourage the rational and efficient use of water, and to provide funding for effective water resources management.
  • 24. Public Participation and Access to Information
    • Government must promote joint partnerships, collective responsibility, and ownership for water resources, while providing opportunities for the public to have inputs into the entire water resources management process, from policy formulation to strategy implementation.
    • Government should provide the public with timely and accurate information about both treated and ambient water quality and quantity. 
    • Providing citizens and customers with information empowers them to make decisions and promotes accountability in Government and the private sector.
  • 25.   Infrastructure
    • Infrastructure development and maintenance is a significant aspect of effective water resources management. 
    • Government should promote private sector investment in and ownership of water infrastructure wherever practicable, and will ensure appropriate cost recovery and financing mechanisms are put in place for public infrastructure.
  • 26. Reliability Criteria
    • For public water supply, including industrial supply:
      • The percentage of time that demand cannot be satisfied should be 10% or less; and
      • The average deficit should be less than 10% of the average demand.
    • For irrigated agriculture, ecological maintenance flows, and other supplies:
      • The percentage of time that demand cannot be satisfied should be 20% or less; and
      • The average deficit should be less than 20% of the average demand.
  • 27. How many of these issues do you think are major obstacles in your country? Are there stories that can be written about these issues to build public awareness and stimulate debate?
  • 28. Key Reference
    • DRAFT NATIONAL WATER RESOURCES MANAGEMENT POLICY
    • April 10, 2002
    • prepared with the support of the Inter-American Development Bank for
    • Water Resources Management Unit
    • Ministry of Public Utilities and the Environment
    • Trinidad and Tobago