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Nov 16, 2022

Exploring Water Resiliency in Climate Change

Today, inside the CARICOM pavilion at COP27, the Barbados Water Authority and the Caribbean Community Climate Change Center signed off on the next step of a wastewater project for the island nation that seeks to link water, energy and food security.  It is a partnership that is supported by the Green Climate Fund, for which C.C.C.C.C. (5Cs) is the direct access entity for the fund. Today, ministers from several CARICOM states joined in on the session.  The intention is for the successful G.C.F. project to be replicated in their respective countries. News Five’s Duane Moody reports.


Duane Moody, Reporting

It was, quite literally, a signature moment for the country of Barbados today as it completed another step to ensure unfettered access to potable water for its citizen through a Green Climate Fund supported project. Water is the single-most important resource worldwide, but every year, drought and flooding – the effects of climate change – have been threatening its people. The island nation, unlike Belize, is a water-scarce country and so, along with the Caribbean Community Climate Change Center, the water sector resilience for sustainability in Barbados project was birthed.


Colin Young

Dr. Colin Young, Executive Director, C.C.C.C.C.

“The board of the Green Climate Fund approved a fifty million U.S.-dollar project to build the water resilience of Barbados. And so, two days later, the Green Climate Fund and CCCCC signed the funding activity agreement that governs the implementation arrangements between the Green Climate Fund and CCCCC. But because the CCCCC works in Barbados with the Barbados Water Authority and they are responsible for some of the activities in the project, we now needed to sign an agreement with the Barbados Water Authority. What that means now is that we are getting to the point where we can now get the first disbursement of money which is also going to break a record in terms of the time it takes between the approval of projects and actually getting money in the account so that the projects can start.”


The project, which is repurposing wastewater, includes an energy component to ensure that even during disasters, residents will maintain to access to clean water inside their homes. There is also an agricultural aspect that will ensure food security. The price tag is in the millions of U.S. dollars, by way of funding via the GCF, a grant from the CCCCC and investment by the Barbadian government.


Dr. Colin Young

“We want to share the experience and the expertise that the CCCCC has in delivering over a hundred million U.S. dollars for the government and people of Barbados. We can do this for Belize, we can do this for Jamaica, we can do this for many other CARICOM countries because all of us are experiencing very similar effects from climate change.”


The Caribbean includes eight of the top thirty countries battling water security, and projections are that the region will continue to get dry, with Belize seeing thirty-five percent less rainfall by as early as 2050. With the modality being used by the Government of Barbados already greenlighted by the GCF, other CARICOM states are looking at the possibility of replicating some aspects of the project in their respective country.  Jamaica, Belize and others have already been engaged. And while Belize has vast amounts of inland water sources, there is significant interest in the available opportunities.


Orlando Habet

Orlando Habet, Minister of Sustainable Development, Climate Change & Disaster Risk Management

“For us in Belize, definitely it is something that we also have to also address. Now we have a different situation, we have large sources of water especially from our mountains, our aquifers and our watersheds, but we do encounter problems in certain areas. We have the northern part of the country which suffers on a yearly basis with a lack of water. Naturally, they get less water per year from rainfall; even though we have these sporadic events because of climate change, generally they have less water than the Cayo District, Belize District and certainly less than the southern two districts. They also use water for agriculture purposes; that’s where the sugar cane industry is, but Orange Walk and Corozal also produce a lot of fruits, vegetables and agriculture crops. So there is a need for water for agriculture, for human use, for industry.”


For context, energy is needed to pump water to your homes – and so as recently experienced during Hurricane Lisa, shortly after power was interrupted, water was also lost.  It’s about becoming energy efficient and ensure water and food security.


Orlando Habet

“What happens to the Cayo District when we have a flooding event. We have several villages along the Belize River and they go for six weeks, two months at a time, without being able to access potable drinking water because these villages get water directly from the river or sometimes from wells that are close to the river, but they are also contaminated, it is dirty. How can we look at reducing the energy cost of supplying this water. Well we have to start to look at renewable energy sources. Solar, we have a lot of sunshine. We have nine ten months in the year where we can truly harvest a lot of energy from the sun. So that’s one area that we have to invest in.”


Dr. Colin Young

“Minister Christopher Coye and the NDA as well as the ministry responsible for climate change have already approached the CCCCC on working on a project in San Pedro Ambergris Caye that will look at how we could use wastewater – reuse it and recycle it – for use on the island to decrease the demand on potable water on the island. In addition to that, we have also agreed that we will be working on a hundred-million-dollar investment in two fifty million tranches to help to build the resilience of all of the municipalities to the effects of climate change.”


Duane Moody

Duane Moody (Stand up)

And so, networking continues as the Belize delegation forges partnerships in an active effort to make Belize more resilient to the impacts of climate change. Reporting from COP27 in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt, I am Duane Moody for News Five.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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