Climate Policy in Sync with Water Policy

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Caribbean stakeholders want climate change to be a part of the area’s plans for IWRM (Integrated Water Resources Management), since the alteration in climate may cause the global hydrological cycle to intensify.

IWRM is based on the concept that the finite water resources have a number of interdependent uses. As agriculture triggers polluted drainage flows and high irrigation demands, less freshwater would be available for industrial use or drinking.

Contaminated industrial and municipal wastewater leads to river pollution, thereby threatening the ecosystem. For the protection of ecosystems and fisheries, if water needs to be left within a river, it means availability of less amount of water for growing crops.

Change in climatic conditions across the globe in combination with different environmental and socioeconomic developments; have already begun to exhibit major consequences.

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The GWP-C (Global Water Partnership-Caribbean), which, some time back, brought together regional and international stakeholders to attend a conference in Trinidad, aims to reach a better understanding of the hydrological cycle and climate system along with the alterations taking place in them. It also intends to increase awareness regarding the effect of climate change on the society at large, and the risk and variability involved with respect to climate and water change. Examination of adaptation options with respect to water and climate change has also been considered.

According to WACDEP (Water, Climate and Development Program) program manager, Natalie Boodram, the focus is on the integration of different aspects of climate variability, climate change and adaptation into the Caribbean water segment.

She feels it is a big deal as within the scenarios of expected climate change, they are concentrating on things such as increasingly intense hurricanes, drier dry seasons and possibility of flooding when rainfall occurs. All these amount to considerable challenge so far as water resource management is concerned. Therefore, as Natalie goes on to say, GWP-C WACDEP is taking a number of steps to enable the regions to get adapted to this.

At present, the impacts of inconsistency and continuing climate change is severely affecting a large portion of the developing regions across the globe, particularly bringing harm to the poorest.

GWP-C, through the workshops of IWRM, renders immense scope for stakeholders and partners for assessment of the stage of the IWRM process which various countries have attained. It also aims to work together for initialing and making IWRM functional in the respective countries.

The process of IWRM involves promotion of the management and coordinated development of land, water and related resources with the goal of maximizing social and economic welfare in an evenhanded manner, not compromising on the sustainability of fundamental ecosystems.

IWRM in involved in the protection of the world’s environment, fostering sustainable agricultural development and economic growth as well as promotion of democratic participation in governance and improvement of human health.

Wayne Joseph, regional co-ordinator, GWP-C, stated that the regional body is dedicated towards making IWRM functional in the region. The WACDEP is the major program, which is being implemented in four Caribbean Countries, namely St. Lucia, Guyana, Antigua and Jamaica.

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