On 19 February 2020, the first of two Caribbean WaterNet/CapNet UNDP training workshops on Groundwater Management in Integrated Water Resource Management took place in The Bahamas. The workshop was held in collaboration with The Bahamas Agricultural Health & Food Safety Authority (BAHFSA), the Faculty of Food and Agriculture, University of the West Indies St. Augustine Campus (FFA, UWI) the Global Water Partnership-Caribbean (GWP-C), Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute (CARDI) and the Caribbean Waste Water Association (CWWA).
Mr. Christopher Worrell, Executive Director of BAHFSA welcomed all to the Workshop followed by remarks from the CARDI representative for The Bahamas, Dr. Michele Singh. Dr. Ronald Roopnarine from Caribbean WaterNet/CapNet UNDP brought brief remarks as the main convener of the workshop, where he emphasised his agency’s commitment to build regional capacity as it pertains to integrated water resource management.
The Minister of Agriculture & Marine Resources, The Hon. Michael C. Pintard noted that “there must be a political will to make the tough decisions needed to protect our groundwater resources”. He further emphasised that agencies need to know there role so that there is less duplication of responsibilities and that more inter-sectoral cooperation must be fostered. The Minister stressed the need for capacity building and public-private partnerships to invest in the ecosystem, the latter critical in the establishment of opportunities in economic and social entrepreneurship that would bring attention to the threat that exists with very limited water resources.
Also of great importance, notes the Minister, “is the need to strengthen an enforcement regime to deal with those who contaminate our marine and terrestrial environments due to unregulated development”. The Hon. Michael C. Pintard concluded with three takeaway points:
- All stakeholders should have access to the quantity and quality of water resources,
- There are needs to be more focus on economic value that looks at new technologies that use less water and less land, e.g. hydroponics and aquaponics; and finally,
- There should be a focus on sustainability, and this occurs with the implementation of regulations and enforcement that will ensure that there are water resources for future generations.
The workshop was closed with remarks made by Dr. Patricia Johnson, the Food Safety and Quality Director (BAHFSA).
The Caribbean WaterNet is developing the second workshop on Groundwater Management in Integrated Water Resource Management by the end of February.