Drought Management Plan and Water Policy to be submitted to cabinet in February

Drought

by Curlan Campbell, NOW Grenada

  • Drought Management Plan to ensure water resource is managed properly
  • Key individuals from various ministries trained to respond to drought situation in Grenada
  • Prolonged drought in 2009/2010 exacerbated by numerous bushfires had devastating effects on water resources

Grenada’s National Drought Management Plan and Water Policy is to be ready for cabinet submission by the end of February.

The policy will seek to ensure that the country’s scarce water resource is managed properly during the dry season. This policy evolved from various consultations in 2018 with assistance from the German Agency for International Corporation and is quite timely as Grenada, and several other regional territories are currently under a drought warning predicted by the Caribbean Institute for Meteorology and Hydrology (CIMH) and the World Meteorological Organisation’s Regional Climate Centre (RCC).

The Ministry of Agriculture on Friday, 1 February brought together various stakeholders, including the National Water and Sewage Authority (NAWASA), Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute (CARDI) to update the nation on the progress made to develop the National Drought Management Plan and Water Policy.

Minister of Agriculture Yolande Bain-Horsford said as part of the ministry’s response to the heightened drought situation, several key individuals from various ministries were trained to respond to a drought situation in Grenada. She said in building resilience during the drought season; the ministry has seen it fit to engage farmers, as well as to implement a monitoring system to record the impact on water supplies, soil degradation, and agriculture productions. “This will entail the collection of data on crops and vegetations, river flows, reservoirs, ponds, rainfall stations, pest and diseases, livestock and generating reports for dissemination to relevant stakeholders,”.

Minister Bain-Horsford has called upon farmers to cooperate in the management of this scarce water resource. “One of the major challenges for Grenada is deriving at a mechanism for the management of the limited amount of water available during a drought to the best advantage of the agriculture sector.”

She said, “The ministry is aware of the potential conflicts that can arise from different users of the same water source. Therefore, I want to make a clarion call to all farmers to cooperate in the management of this scarce resource.”

Grenada experienced a prolonged drought in 2009/2010 further exacerbated by numerous bushfires with devastating effects on water resources. In highlighting the areas to be covered under the policy framework to regulate water during the dry season, consultant Dr Everson Peters said what occurred in 2019 should now be considered a climatic event that can happen often due to climate change. “In 2009/2010 we experienced a severe drought and from all predictions, 2009/2010 is going to become something often. It is going to be here with us so we have to prepare for it and one of the ways we can prepare is to establish the water policy and to start working along with the drought management plan.”

He further elaborated on the priority areas during a drought. “The goal of a drought management plan is during a period like now that we want to ensure the greatest public benefit for domestic water. Then we want sanitation. We do not want diseases to be breaking out in schools if there is a lack of water. And then we want irrigation; so, while irrigation is important during a drought the most important thing is for people to have water to drink.”

The United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification has funded the development of a national drought management plan, while the drafting of the water policy was funded by the International Water Stewardship Programme (IWaSP).

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