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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.