One climate change expert has said that the Caribbean does not have the capacity to deal with the impact of severe weather patterns that have been affecting the region in recent times.
The deputy director and science advisor of the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC), Dr Ulric Trotz, was speaking on the sidelines of a meeting of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in Jamaica, on the heels of this week’s torrential rains in Barbados and St Vincent and the Grenadines, which triggered widespread flooding and infrastructural damage in both countries.
In the case of Barbados, the inclement weather forced the postponement of several activities marking the island’s 50th anniversary of Independence.
“You’ll notice for instance we say that the region is going to be drier and there’s going to be less rainfall, but with the floods that you had in Barbados and St Vincent recently you wouldn’t think so. But what has happened is that previously when you get a set of rainfall extending over, say about a three to four month period, you’re getting all that in a few days, our drainage systems aren’t designed to basically deal with that.
“Our reservoirs for the water companies aren’t designed to hold that volume of water, so the water goes up. So what happens is there’s an extended dry period. The result is our reservoirs are dry and our aquifers are basically depleted,” he said.
Dr Trotz noted that the CCCCC is taking steps to address the situation across the region.
“We are addressing it by looking at water harvesting, which means that each household should have a facility, a cistern that catches the water when it is available. And we have installed a reverse osmosis plants, just as you have in Barbados, in a couple of countries, Bequia is one, and recently in Petit Martinique and Carriacou,” Dr Trotz stated.
According to him, all the facilities are powered by solar energy, given the fact that they are energy intensive. (MCW)