September 14, 2023: The first grant-funded, national project under the Adaptation Fund titled “Multi-sectoral Adaptation Measures to Flood Relief in the South Oropouche River Basin," has been launched at a value of US$10 million.
The project aims to increase the resilience of the South Oropouche River Basin’s population and ecosystems to flooding, sea level rise, and expected increasing water deficit events.
The initiative forms part of the Government’s implementation of the National Climate Change Policy which inter alia seeks to adapt to the impacts of climate change and climate risks.
Speaking at the launch on Wednesday afternoon which took place at the Debe High School, Planning Minister Penelope Beckles said the South Oropouche River Basin was chosen as a result of a consideration of a number of factors, including vulnerability to flooding and climate risks, population density, commercial, agricultural, and cultural activities, and impacts on citizens, as well as the size of the catchment.
"You know more than anyone the perennial flooding that this watershed experiences and the associated suffering that ensues, and this is projected to become even worse as climate change continues.
"Over the years, the frequency and intensity of flooding events in this region have escalated, resulting in significant damage to homes, infrastructure, livelihoods and the environment," the minister further explained.
Beckles said that the economic losses caused by these floods have been staggering, amounting to millions of dollars each year.
"Moreover, the ecological balance of the region has been severely disrupted, with long-term consequences for biodiversity and ecosystems.
"You would agree that we cannot afford this anymore and for all the obvious reasons," she added.
Noting that climate change is therefore already here, the minister further advised that lit is no longer a futuristic phenomenon.
This project was developed in collaboration with the Development Bank of Latin America (CAF), and forms part of the Government’s implementation of the National Climate Change Policy which inter alia seeks to adapt to the impacts of climate change and climate risks, which are projected to result in more intense rainfall in Trinidad and Tobago, but less cumulative rainfall over time.
The four-year project will be nationally led by the Ministry of Planning and Development and executed by the University of the West Indies through the St. Augustine Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (STACIE).