Head of CCA Warns of Freshwater Over-Consumption

On World Environment Day, the head of the Caribbean`s largest environmental organisation has warned that there is “over-consumption” of freshwater in the region and called for measures to manage supply and demand.
Jota Singh, executive director of the Caribbean Conservation Association (CCA), in a message to observe World Environment Day, said that while most Caribbean people have access to clean freshwater, current patterns of water consumption are “clearly unsustainable”.
“The majority of us have access to potable water, but the issue of over consumption is the major concern to us in the Caribbean,” Singh said. “It is clear that demand for freshwater in the Caribbean has grown as population, agricultural and tourism activities increase. However, current patterns of water withdrawals are clearly unsustainable, thus compounding the already increasing demand.
Singh called for a mix of home and nation-wide measures to control demand and increase supply for the precious resource.
“The traditional approach to water management has been one of increasing supply by looking for additional sources or more water,” Singh said in the message. “However, we need a mix of approaches, building supply while at the same time allocating what is available to what the demand (is). Additionally, free access to water in the Caribbean has been the norm. We need a renewed approach to water utilisation.”
Singh added: “If we adopt an attitude of water conservation in our personal lives then this attitude will filter through to our families and workplaces. When this is evident in our lives then we would have aided the efforts of others globally to ensure a sustainable access to and supply of safe drinking water for all.”
Singh added: “If we adopt an attitude of water conservation in our personal lives then this attitude will filter through to our families and workplaces. When this is evident in our lives then we would have aided the efforts of others globally to ensure a sustainable access to and supply of safe drinking water for all.”
The Barbados
government has announced that it intends to introduce two additional water desalination plants in response to acute water shortages that have affected the north of the island.
In an interview with the Caribbean Environmental Reporters Network (CERN), Singh suggested other water management systems should be explored in addition to the “quick fix” solution of desalination. He said Barbadians should brace themselves for eventual higher water rates as desalination and other water management systems are introduced.


In keeping with this year`s World Environment Day—‘water: two billion people are dying for it’—the CCA head called attention to figures that suggest one out of every six people worldwide does not have regular access to drinking water and that water-related diseases account for almost 80 per cent of all illnesses and deaths in developing countries. “This is quite disturbing,” said Singh in the CCA`s message, “and reminds us of the profound importance of access to clean freshwater for all if we are to achieve sustainable development and an improved quality of life.”
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