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N Touch
Saturday 20 January 2018
News

Water security not optional

THE EDITOR: TT is currently facing drought conditions stimulated by the El Nino and La Nina pendulum swing of climatic extremes. Now more than ever, because of the constant threat of drought, it is critically important that we sustainably manage the threats to our potable water.

In recent reports, the Caribbean Drought and Precipitation Monitoring Network stated that a shorter-term drought situation may persist until June. It also predicted that areas with existing water shortages, including TT , may not see recovery until the next wet season. According to the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Management (ODPM), “drought can bring with it a range of negative economic (eg agricultural sector collapse), social (eg famine, disease outbreak) and environmental (eg soil degradation/erosion, habitat loss due to forest fires) impacts.” Regions all over the world have reported flash flooding, crop failures, perishing livestock and, in extreme cases, near starvation.

This is a serious threat.

Approximately 80 percent of quarries in Trinidad are located in the Northern Range and over 80 percent of our potable water comes from this same area. Without a doubt, several quarries in Trinidad, and now in Tobago, are jeopardising our water security.

Published studies lodged in the libraries of the Water Resources Agency, have alluded to the fact that many quarries are threatening WASA’s water intake and the sensitive aquifers which supply our potable water.

Fishermen and Friends of the Sea (FFOS) is calling on Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley, Energy and Energy Industries Minister Nicole Ollivierre, and Planning and Development Minister Camille Robinson-Regis to agree to be guided by the Environmental Management Act and to conduct supplemental environmental impact assessments to determine which aquifers are being threatened, which of these are critical to WASA’s water intake and ultimately, in the public interest, which quarries should be closed.

We place our trust in our Prime Minister to address this as a matter of urgent importance. Threats to our potable water supply are a national issue of which every citizen should and must respond. Water security is not optional.

Terrence Beddoe Gary Aboud FFOS

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