Caribbean Small Island Developing States

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Water is a basic necessity of life, and it may seem unthinkable to imagine living without it. Water is the one essential resource for which there is no substitute, but rising demand and growing population cause a water crisis. The world that includes over six billion humans is facing a serious water crisis. According to UNESCO (2003), all the signs suggest that it is getting worse and will continue to do so, unless corrective action is taken. This crisis is essentially caused by the ways in which we mismanage water.

           According to Medina (2010), there are 4 facts of global water crises; first, more than

2.4 million people lack access of water to sanitation and more than 1.2 million are without clean water. Second, the sanitation problem can only be reduced to 1.9 million people in the year 2015. Third, the price of water is under valuated, therefore does not encourage conservation and efficient management. Fourth, climate change uncertainty makes prediction of impact on water cycle difficult.

          Asia support more than the half of population (60%), with only 36% of world’s water resources.  Follow with South America with 6% of the world’s population; consume 26% of the world’s water resources.  North & Central America represent 8% of the world’s population; use 15% of the world’s water resources. Africa and Europe share the same 13% of the world’s population and use 11% and 8% of water respectively. Australia with less than 1% of the world’s population use 5% of the world’s water resources (UNESCO, 2003).


Water Reform

           Turrall (2000) stated that in developed countries, the principle force for water reform in industrialized countries has been the environmental issues, due to chemical and current pollution of natural stream habitat, by increasing tough environmental standards for potable water quality and by restriction on the expulsion of dirty water. There are a number of developed countries where irrigation is major consumer of water. In developed countries, they have come with different innovation methods of irrigation development and management. Some countries have involved the community in land and water conservation and a mix of government and private initiatives in developing water resources. They are analyzing the possibilities of application in developing countries. Although public perceptions of the nature of water as a resource are changing in developed countries, it is not clear that this is so in developing countries.

           The international profile of water is still largely limited to reaction to the impacts of flood and disasters, and many developing countries have only recently adopted water policies of any description. 70% of industrialized wastes are dumped untreated into waters where they pollute the usable water supply. In many developing countries, competition for limited water resources is increasing as urbanisation and industrial development (Turrall, 2000).

        According to the World Bank (1988), developing countries can create sustainable water development by the following factors; continuous sector policies, strong institutional arrangements and adequate intersectorial coordination, adequately trained and motivated staff, use of appropriate technology and increase knowledge of alternatives, more community involvement, public accountability, adequate operation and maintenance and adequate promotional and enforcement capabilities.


Recycling water

           Another method that is commonly use is recycling. It is a term generally applied to aluminum cans, glass bottles, and newspapers, water can be recycled as well. Water recycling is reusing treated wastewater for beneficial purposes such as agricultural and landscape irrigation, industrial processes, toilet flushing, and refilling a ground water basin Water recycling offers resource and financial savings. Wastewater treatment can be tailored to meet the water quality requirements of a planned reuse. As water energy demands and environmental needs grow, water recycling will play a greater role in our overall water supply. By working together to overcome obstacles, water recycling, along with water conservation and efficiency can help us to sustainably manage our vital water resources (Bastian, 2010).


Overview of the Caribbean

In the Caribbean Region water is an important input to industrial development, and growth in these sectors requires large increases in water supply. In some countries, the emphasis is to protect water resources and delivery systems from deviants who may seek to harm the state by harming the population of the state (Caricom, 2009)

         In other cases, the protection of water resources and ensuring a sustainable quantity of water at a reasonable price is essential for socio-economic development and maintaining domestic tranquility.  In the Caribbean, water security and national security are linked. It follows therefore that any insecurity and uncertainty within the water sector is a facilitator for social instability. When note that several Caribbean states in keeping with the U.N definition are currently labeled as water scarce: meaning that they experience a serious challenge in distributing water to meet the demands of households, farms, industry and environment.

          The issue of water resources in the Caribbean Region involves many of the same problems that face developing countries in general, including inadequate management frameworks and resources, both human and financial. However, other issues unique to the Caribbean, notably their highly constrained freshwater resource base and the patterns of development on limited habitable land, pose particular challenges for freshwater resources management and ultimately national and regional security (Caricom, 2009).


Climate change

On November 1, 2010, Curaçao was hit by a tropical storm named Tomas. Tomas brought 265 millimeter about 10 inches of rain to Curacao and this is half of the annual rainfall in only 8 hours. There was more water on the island than around and many people had to be evacuated due to flooding.

    According to Campos (2008), the traditional way of handling extreme events such as floods, with engineering works should be complemented with the ecosystems approach which integrates the management of land and water that promotes conservation and sustainable use in an equitable way. Climate change is indeed an important issue, but it needs to be seen in context of the many other global challenges affecting water resources such as population growth, urbanization and land use change. Conventional approaches to climate change adaptation range from water conservation and efficient use to new operational technologies. Dams and reservoirs are still considered as the most effective structural means of risk management. But we need to start thinking of the environment as infrastructure for adaptation as well. Health and complete stream basins, wetlands and floodplains make us less vulnerable to climate change. Lowering risk is a good reason for investing in watersheds and the environment.