A five-year multi-million dollar water improvement project that is expected to ease the chronic water woes of more than 190,000 Barbadians will be launched on Friday.
The Water Sector Resilience Nexus for Sustainability in Barbados (WSRN S-Barbados) is a US$45.2 million investment project that is being implemented by the Belize-based Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC) in collaboration with the Green Climate Fund (GCF), the Barbados government and the Barbados Water Authority (BWA).
Funding includes US$27.6 million in grants from the GCF and counterpart funding of US$17.6 from the Barbados government.
The WSRN S-Barbados project is the GCF’s first single-country investment in the Caribbean.
When completed, it should improve access to potable water, increase the Barbados water sector’s resilience to extreme climatic events; reduce water disruptions, introduce adaptation and mitigation initiatives through a revolving fund; improve resilience to climate change while building capacity and increasing public-private-partnerships and innovation for climate resilience in the sector.
“The Centre is proud to be working with the government and people of Barbados on such an important project,” said CCCCC executive director, Dr Kenrick Leslie.
“The measures to be undertaken under this project is expected to increase adaptation and mitigation measures in households and communities; improve the country’s food security by increasing the farmers’ access to water; reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and improve the awareness of ordinary Barbadians to the effects of climate variability affecting the country and the wider Caribbean,” he added.
Under the project, photovoltaic (PV) power generation systems are to be installed at the Belle, the Bowmanston and the Hampton Pumping Stations to reduce the dependency of the facilities on diesel-generated electricity.
The CCCCC said leaks are to be minimised through mains replacement and real-time monitoring. To ensure that any disruptions in the water supply would not immediately result in the loss of potable water to vulnerable sections of the population, water storage tanks and rainwater harvesting systems are to be set up in strategic locations across the island, it added.
The project also includes a Revolving Adaptation Fund Facility (RAFF) to assist households, farmers and small businesses by supporting a number of climate change adaptation and mitigation initiatives in the water sector.
BWA general manager, Keithroy Halliday said “WSRN S-Barbados project will reduce the BWA’s carbon footprint, create a more reliable water supply and increase capacity building in the Authority.
“It will have a positive impact by creating resilience to severe weather events, promoting public awareness on climate change effects threatening the water supply system and highlighting ways to mitigate against it as well as improving the sustainability of the water supply system.
“These initiatives collectively, are expected to assist the Government of Barbados in meeting its target of carbon neutrality by 2030,” he added.
Project partners include the United States Agency for International Development Climate Change
Adaptation Project (USAID-CCAP), the University of the West Indies (UWI), South Florida University (SFU), Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) and the European Investment Bank (EIB).
Since February 2018, the CCCCC has received more than US$38.54 million in grants for the implementation of Climate Change and readiness projects in several countries.