A project to ease chronic water shortages for two-thirds of the population – about 190,000 consumers – over the next five years is to be launched here on Friday.
When completed, it should improve access to potable water, increase the nation’s resilience to extreme climatic events and reduce water disruptions.
Farmers and food production are also expected to benefit as the project aims to increase water access to farms, the Belize-based Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC) said.
A revolving fund will also finance initiatives to adapt to climate change and mitigate its effects. The project seeks to make the country more resilient to climate change through public-private-partnerships and innovation.
The Water Sector Resilience Nexus for Sustainability in Barbados (WSRN S-Barbados) is a $90.4 million (US$45.2 million) investment by the CCCCC in collaboration with the Green Climate Fund (GCF), the Government and the Barbados Water Authority (BWA).
Funding includes $55.2 million (US$27.6 million) in grants from the GCF and counterpart funding of $35.2 million (US$17.6 million) from the Government.
The WSRN S-Barbados project marks the GCF’s first single-country investment in the Caribbean.
CCCCC executive director, Dr Kenrick Leslie, said in a statement: “The centre is proud to be working with the Government and people of Barbados on such an important project.
“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.”
Photovoltaic (PV) solar power systems are to be installed at the Belle, the Bowmanston and the Hampton Pumping Stations to reduce the dependency on diesel-generated electricity to pump wateter
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.
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.”