Monday, October 28, 2013

Caribbean looks to the sky for water security

Jewel Fraser in Thomson Reuters Foundation via IPS: A centuries-old system for ensuring water security is making a comeback in the Caribbean. It's known as rainwater harvesting, and it is now becoming a formal part of the region's strategic planning in the face of not only more and stronger storms, but droughts as well. By 2100, there could be a 20 to 30 percent decrease in precipitation, research shows, making every drop count.3

"Rainwater harvesting is, in fact, seen as one of the important tools to ensure resilience and redundancy in Caribbean water supplies, in particular to augment existing municipal water supplies," Dr. Natalie Boodram, manager of the Global Water Partnership-Caribbean (GWP-C), told IPS. "Rainwater can provide a backup water supply in case of disruption."

One advantage is that the technology is already in place, with many householders, especially in rural areas, creating catchments for rainwater running off of their roofs to supply them with water for daily household use. In the Virgin Islands, slightly more than half of homes use RWH to supply all their water needs.

An estimated 500,000 people in the region at least partially depend on RWH, with the heaviest users including Antigua and Barbuda, the Bahamas, the U.S. and British Virgin Islands, the Turks and Caicos and the Grenadines.

Earlier this month, ministers from the Caribbean Community meeting in Barbados launched a Water, Climate and Development Programme for the Caribbean (WACDEP) that promotes rainwater harvesting as one of the approaches to secure the region's water supplies...

Rain barrels shot by Jan Tik, Wikimedia Commons via Flickr, under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license

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