The water sector is critical for the economic, social and environmental well being of the country. Therefore, it should be given dedicated attention.
A plan should be put in place and implemented to rehabilitate the damaged watersheds on the island.
Watersheds in Millet and Roseau; Marquis and Grande Anse/Louvet; Soufriere; Vieux Fort; Fond D'Or; Cul de Sac; Doree, Piaye and Balembouche; Dennery, Riviere Gales/Trois Isles and Mamiku, should be given special attention because of their importance.
The effective management of our forests is important to ensure the integrity of our water sources. This must involve plans to manage the upper catchments, protect river banks and slopes in vulnerable areas, and the establishment of riparian buffers in all priority watersheds.
Land management policies should be strengthened to prevent the further degradation of watersheds and the pollution of water courses with agro-chemicals and sewage.
The John Compton Dam is the most important water storage facility on the island. Every effort should be taken to remove the heavy silt deposits in this reservoir and restore it to its original storage capacity.
The south of the island is in desperate need of better water storage facilities. Plans should be developed and funding should be sought for a major storage reservoir off the Troumassee River to serve the southern communities.
Rainwater harvesting must be encouraged at the domestic and commercial levels through tax incentives. This should extend to incentives for businesses to retrofit their buildings to allow for captured rainwater to be used for non-essential purposes that do not require potable water.
Building codes should be amended to reflect the need for every new building to have dedicated water storage.
The work started by Professor Dale Morgan and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to explore for viable groundwater sources should be continued and expanded. Where economically feasible, groundwater should be used to augment domestic supplies, through a responsible and sustainable resource management program.
The issue of wastewater has been neglected in national policy on the water sector, and this has negatively impacted water quality in our rivers and near-shore areas. A comprehensive plan must be developed and steps taken to deal with the issues surrounding the treatment and disposal of wastewater.
The water utility company WASCO is plagued by dated and inefficient infrastructure. This is causing serious operating inefficiencies and unacceptably high non revenue water levels. A comprehensive programme should be embarked upon, funded by climate finance sources, to replace and geo-locate all of the old or leaky water transmission and distribution infrastructure.
Public education and sensitization are important for the sound management of the sector. This should be undertaken at all levels, including the formal education system.
Wherever and whenever possible, communities should be engaged and involved in the protection and management of our watersheds.