The Ministry of Agriculture and Lands have joined hands with the Ministry of Climate Resilience, the Environment, Forestry, Fisheries, Disaster Management & Information, the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ), the Grenada Water Stakeholder Platform (G-WaSP) and other stakeholder organisations to bring a fresh look back to the Grand Etang Lake, and thus improving the water supply augmented by National Water and Sewage Authority (NAWASA).
This G-WaSP initiative, which focuses on water resources management, water risk and water pollution, has identified Grand Etang as a focal point, as it is Grenada’s largest freshwater reservoir that is used by NAWASA in the dry season to augment the water supply for the southern part of Grenada.
The Grand Etang Lake, being in the crater of an extinct volcano has provided many advantages to the country, but over the years was subjected to reeds, taking over more than half of the volume of the 36-acre area, reducing it to 12 acres to date.
The aim of the initiative dubbed the Grand Etang Water Partnership, among other things, is to provide a balance removal of the reed in the Grand Etang Lake, which will maintain the water storage capacity, reduce water losses through evapotranspiration, improve the water quality, and give the lake a larger appearance.
The Annandale water pipeline will also be extended to minimise water losses in the district system.
Having considered the high possibility of completely losing the lake, 13 men were trained to perform the task of cleaning the lake with a special machine.
This machine, known as Weedoo, provided by the International Water Stewardship Programme (IWaSP), will operate with a mowing and or root raking technique to clear the reeds.
Although many benefits can be derived from the cleaning of the Grand Etang Lake, one worthy of mentioning is readily accessible source of water for farming purposes, as one of the negatives of it being overgrown with reeds was that it affected its water storage capacity, diminishing the quantity of water sourced by National Water and Storage Authority (NAWASA).
Focal Point for IWaSP and Chief Land Use Officer in the Ministry of Agriculture and Lands, Trevor Thompson, explained this initiative from an agriculture standpoint. “The Grand Etang initiative will help to contribute to a reliable supply of water for the farmers in the Great River Watershed. Removing the weeds will increase the storage capacity of the lake, meaning more available water for irrigation in the dry season,” Thompson said.
“It will also contribute to maintaining equilibrium in the watershed between the terrestrial and aquatic environments. There should be a healthier environment,” he added.
Minister in the Ministry of Climate Resilience with responsibility for Forestry and Fisheries, Hon. Alvin Dabreo, said this initiative is very important to government, as it would seek to address the concerns of the visitors and locals alike. “We can see the increasing growth of the weeds; that has been happening since the 1970s…it is not a lake anymore, it is a pond. The fact that it has been decreasing, it has been affecting the beauty and also the water storage capacity. This initiative is important for the ecosystem, as the lake has a lot of the wetlands properties and it is important that we protect our asset,” he remarked.
GIZ representative, Birgit Mayer emphasised the point of increased water supply as it has been experienced that the supply doesn’t always meet the demand. “One reason for that is that the lake is overgrown more and more by the reeds. The big ones in the back with the big leaves they are really a challenge because first, they take up storage capacity just because they are there but they also increase evapotranspiration. So the bottom line is that there is less drinking water available,” Mayer stated.
Once properly operated, the machine should clear the lake of the reeds in approximately 40 days.
The Ministry of Agriculture and Lands is overly pleased about the prospect of having sufficient drinking water available to farm animals and also to farmers for their crop irrigation, especially those in the south of the island.
Ministry of Agriculture and Lands