At first glance, it would seem to be a contradiction in terms: the islands that make up Grenada lie in the turquoise waters of the Caribbean Sea, around 200 kilometres north-east of the coast of Venezuela. The archipelago, which is part of the Lesser Antilles, is famous not only for its beaches, but also for its waterfalls and crater lakes. Yet drinking water is becoming scarce in Grenada. The country has only limited freshwater reserves and is experiencing increasingly frequent dry periods as a result of climate change. At the same time, hurricanes and heavy rainfall are becoming more common. This is making the drinking water cloudy and damaging pipes and tanks. The rise in sea level is also threatening to cause saltwater to seep into the groundwater near the coast.
The primary source of income for the approximately 112,000 inhabitants of Grenada is tourism, while agriculture also provides the livelihood for many people. Yet both sectors depend on the availability of abundant water supplies. On behalf of the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Nuclear Safety and Consumer Protection, GIZ is supporting Grenada in the transition to climate-resilient water management. The Green Climate Fund (GCF) is cofinancing the project, which is being implemented in collaboration with Grenada’s Ministry of Infrastructure Development. GCF attaches particular importance to maintaining environmental and social safeguards at international level. Water pipes are being renewed to reduce loss due to leakage. Storage tanks and new groundwater wells are designed to guarantee the water supply. Commercial users receive subsidies if they invest in water-saving infrastructure. An audit of 21 hotels and guesthouses established that these businesses alone could reduce their water consumption by a total of around 44 million litres a year.
Luxury hotel collects rainwater
One of the first establishments to focus on saving water was a luxury hotel in Grenada’s capital, St. George’s. It now collects rainwater, which it uses to water the grounds and wash the laundry. Other hotels have installed new water pipes and modern showers and have added water-saving flush mechanisms to the toilets. Awareness-raising campaigns are also targeting private users to encourage them to consume less of this precious resource.
Grenada’s water regulation authority will assume overall responsibility for water management in future. It will then not merely be responsible for water sector planning, but will also design intelligent water rates with a view to protecting citizens on low incomes against sharp price increases and rewarding those who cut back on the amount they use. The project acts as a model for the region: the solutions tested here and the knowledge acquired can be passed on as lessons learned to other Caribbean countries.
Partnership with the Green Climate Fund
The Climate-Resilient Water Sector in Grenada project is GIZ’s first project involving the Green Climate Fund (GCF). GCF was set up in the wake of the UN climate negotiations and finances projects designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to adapt to global warming in developing countries. GIZ has been accredited by GCF and supports its partners in planning, funding and implementing GCF-financed projects. Other joint projects are currently being implemented in Laos, Georgia, Kenya and Senegal.
End poverty in all its forms everywhere
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