GCF signs off funding for Barbados water sector resilience project
The project aims to make the provision of potable water in Barbados less vulnerable to the impacts of hurricanes which have been increasing in intensity over the past decades. It involves installing a photovoltaic (PV) power generation field next to one of the main pumping stations, yielding a mitigation benefit from the reduced dependency on diesel-generated electricity. In addition, the installation of water storage tanks and rainwater harvesting systems in several strategic locations on the island will ensure that any disruptions in water supply do not lead to immediate loss of potable water to vulnerable populations.
Patrick Van Laake, Senior Ecosystems Management Specialist at GCF and Task Manager for the project, stated: "The 2017 Atlantic hurricane season was the most destructive on record, with several island nations in the Caribbean being severely impacted. While Barbados was spared major damage in 2017, the destruction on other islands and the lasting economic impacts demonstrate that building resilience into public services like potable water supply is key to making vulnerable populations cope with this threat."
The project has significant co-benefits for households, farmers and small businesses of Barbados. Cost savings by the Barbados Water Authority from the investment in the PV systems will be deposited into a locally managed adaptation fund. Consumers will be able to access the fund for financial support to reduce the cost of installing water saving devices in households, public buildings, hotels and in agriculture operations. This fund will continue to operate after the project completes, providing long-term sustainability for water users in Barbados.
The project is the first single-country investment by GCF in the Caribbean region to be signed. The project’s Accredited Entity (AE) is the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC). It’s a direct-access AE based in Belize and serving the member countries of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), a regional cooperation body.
"The signing of the agreement is a major achievement for CCCCC. The Barbados water project, valued at USD 45 million, speaks well of the dedication and competence of the Centre’s project development personnel. Further, it is the first project being implemented by a Regional Accredited Entity from the Caribbean. For Barbados it is a major step in solving its critical water problem that is increasingly being impacted by climate change and other anthropogenic activities. For the Caribbean SIDS it indicates that GCF is supporting the adaptation agenda of the region," said Dr Kenrick R. Leslie, Executive Director at CCCCC.
The signing of the legal agreement of the project between GCF and CCCCC comes at a very auspicious time. On 6 – 9 November, the GCF is hosting its second Structured Dialogue for the Caribbean in St. George’s, Grenada.