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National Country Reports to Regional

Report on Building Climate Resilience through Inovative Financing Mechanisms for Climate Change Community Consultations

 

Prepared by Nneka Nicholas

 


 

Project Coordinator: Ms. Ruleta Camacho

 

 

BACKGROUND

 

The Environment Division has developed a project entitled “Building Resilience through Innovative Financing for Ecosystem-based Adaptation.”  One of the projects main goals is to develop the adaptability of ecosystems and the surrounding vulnerable communities who depend on the proper functioning of the environment for comfortable, disease free living.  The long-term goals of the project are:

 

x      To increase the ability of Antiguan based institutions to streamline the EbA approach into development planning;

x      To facilitate stakeholders in both the public and private sectors piloting EbA actions in coastal and terrestrial ecosystems which will aid in demonstrating their benefits and effectiveness;

x      For the knowledge gained to be shared nation- and region-wide.

 

The principal adaptation method is flood alleviation. The Environment Division has begun the largest part of the project preparation, which is baseline data collection. Several criteria were identified in order to select which areas should be a part of the pilot project.  The 4 areas selected based on that criteria are:

  1.  The Sir George Walter Highway between Old Parham Road and Factory Road as well as the areas east and west of that section of road.
  2.  The Friars Hill Road and areas west leading, including Yorks to the McKinnon’s Pond.
  3. Cashew Hill
  4. West Palm Beach area of Bolans

 

A community consultation was hosted at locations near each of the affected areas. Community leaders and members of the community were invited along with constituency representatives and their opponents. A presentation was given, tailored to each area with aerial photos showing watercourses and hotspots.

 

 

CRITERIA FOR ECOSYSTEM-BASED ADAPTATION

 

There was developed technical criteria in order to select the aforementioned areas:

  • The area must be suffering from frequent and severe flooding and water logging even during the dry season.
  • The area must be subject to flooding and water logging that prevents persons from carrying out their livelihoods in an efficient manner and is a threat to human life.
  • The area must  be vulnerable to flooding that poses a threat to economic development.
  • Residents are at risk for mosquito and water borne diseases due to the condition of the area.
  • The potential for adaptation measures can be designed and implemented to resolve the major issues and improve the land use potential.
  • The problems being experienced by these communities require urgent intervention and will yield quick and demonstrable results.
  • A significant number of complaints have been received regarding the flooding in these areas.

 

ISSUES IDENTIFIED BY THE ENVIRONMENT DIVISION

 

Site visits revealed that the areas have several issues in common which contribute to flooding:

 

x      Poorly drained soils.

x      Inadequately maintained natural channels or watercourses that drain into the main watercourse.

x      Sedimentation that slows natural flow

x      Street drains not being adequate to hold storm water flow.

x      Houses built too close to natural drains, increasing the level of vulnerability to floods.

x      Domestic wastes (sewage and gray water) flowing into natural and concrete drains.

x      Drains not adequately handling water during flood events

 

 

STEPS ALREADY TAKEN

 

In two of the three areas selected to be pilots for this project, there have been attempts at alleviation of the some of the issues identified in the section above.

 

The Friars Hill Road and areas west leading, including Yorks to the McKinnon’s Pond

 

x      McKinnon’s Pond was identified as major feature for adaptation to climate change in the 1st National Communication on Climate Change (2001).

x      In 2005 Cabinet recognized the sensitivity of McKinnon’s Pond and the Environment Division was tasked to work on solutions.

x      In 2006 McKinnon’s Pond was dredged to increase capacity for water storage

x      Water quality monitoring has been conducted and options for natural remedies were identified and a wastewater management system for hotels was developed. In 2010 a sewage treatment plant which is not yet operational.

x      Annually cleaning the waterways and Woods Pond (Central Board of Health and the Environment Division).

 

Cashew Hill

 

x      Annually cleaning waterways.

x      Attempts at building drains.

x      Mosquito control

x      Cleaning sides of main roads and roads in the village

 

 

CONCERNS

At each of the community consultations, residents were encouraged to air concerns about issues that the Environment Division would not have been able to identify on a site visit and would only be experienced if living there.  The following are specific concerns, identified by residents of the community, by area.

 

The Friars Hill Road and areas west leading, including Yorks to the McKinnon’s Pond

 

x      Along Friar’s Hill Road. There is a wall near Wood’s Pond that blocks the water from following its natural course. The concrete of the Wood’s Centre does not allow for the absorption of water when it rains heavily. Ponds alongthe way have been filled in.

x      A community member identified a possible other source of flooding that is only recognizable if one lives in the area. It was reported that water from Gambles Terrace flows down the road in Gambles Terrace that Viv Richardshouse is located. The water flows towards the pond but is unable to collect there because the amount of water is too much. As a result the road floods.

x      Oil that runs from APUA into the watercourse. It creates a smell that wafts around that entire area and is uncomfortable for residents. It is reported that on some occasions APUA releases an oil-eating solution to clear up themess and on some occasions the Central Board of Health takes on this responsibility.

x      The bridge leading out of the village to First Choice supermarket is a site of major flooding activities. It was identified that a possible contributor to this flooding was a site where old cars were piled that may cause blockageto the natural watercourses leading out of the village into the McKinnon’s pond.

x      An interview with a resident revealed that at the entrance to the village near the sign, there used to be a pond which was, upon building roads, houses and drains, filled in. As a result there is no water catchment for excessivewaters coming into the village. Evidence can be seen, as there is significant growth of water plants in the gutter under the bridge.

x      The location of a possible spring was identified. Residents of Lower Gambles call it Palma Jelly and report that it can be found near the Church of God of Prophecy. It was reported that the ground where is located is alwayswet.

x      The residents also identified the fact that even thought the Central Board of Health carried out regular cleanings of the gutters in the area, the sides of the gutters are not stabilized and whenever there are heavy rains, thedirt falls back in.

 

CASHEW HILL

 

x      Retention ponds that once existed within the community have been filled in order to build houses. These ponds that were once sufficient enough to retain water that accumulated during heavy rainfall.

x      The gutters are eroded and are not adept at holding flooding waters.

x      Since the area is mostly made up of low-income families, there is a severe lack of septic tanks on a majority of the properties. A majority of the wastewater flows directly into the gutters. When the area floods, the floodwater is tainted with the grey water and the polluted water flows freely around the neighbourhood. This is a health hazard.

x      Due to lack of proper planning, houses have been built directly in the waterways. This is evident in some cases by a constant presence of water under some houses.

 

BOLANS

x      There is an area between St. Mary’s School and the outskirts of West Palm Beach that floods heavily. Residents report that during periods of heavy rainfall, kayaks and other implements that can float are employed in rescuing people stuck in their homes

x      Jolly Harbour has built up an embankment that prevents water coming from Christian Valley and other sources from flowing in to the sea. There have been several attempts by residents to remove this embankment with the use of backhoes only for it to be replaced by Jolly Harbour. The residents feel that this contributes significantly to flooding as many of them can recall that in the period before the area was built up when the area did not flood .

x      Residents whose houses are built directly in the water courses report the constant presence of water under their houses.

x      The flooding has made it easier for eggs of the Giant African Snail to be distributed. Bolans has already been identified as an2 area that is heavily infested.

x      Valley Gut is an area that becomes impassable during heavy rains.

 

 

RECOMMENDATIONS

The Friars Hill Road and areas west leading, including Yorks to the McKinnon’s Pond

 

 

x      It was recommended that there be a project undertaken to facilitate water from Friar’s Hill Road getting to Woods Pond. This project should also include a public awareness aspect and include signage to raise awareness ofvalue and function of the waterway.

x      Check dams need to be constructed in the appropriate areas, such as east of the bridge on Anchorage Road and closer to McKinnon’s Pond. Their location size and design will need to be developed following investigations bythe Public Works Department.

x      It was further recommended that de-silting and restoration of the watercourses would be doe before check dam construction.

x      Smaller activities that could be undertaken by the community include removal of junk vehicles and construction and maintenance of small parks within the neighbourhood.

 

CASHEW HILL

x      It was suggested that some residents be relocated who live in the way of waterways and where alleviation methods would not adequately solve the problem.

x      A recommendation was made that there should be more intervention and planning by government agencies so that plots of land are sold in places that are not susceptible to flooding. It was noted that monitoring of land sales needs to be more vigilant as houses and plots have been sold one by one until it realized too late that it has turned into a large housing development.

 

FINANCING

Some of the recommendations revolved around the Small Grants Programme provided by the Global Environment Fund. The GEF is the financial mechanism of the United Nations. The Small Grants Programme is only accessible by non-governmental organizations, community based organizations and grassroots organizations. Antigua and Barbuda is allocated US$1 million dollars every GEF cycle (4 years).  In order to gain access to this funding, projects and proposals have to be written that fall under the scope of the organization. The focus of the project must be an environmental issue such as biodiversity, climate change, international waters, land degradation, the ozone layer, persistent organic pollutants and climate change.

 

There is a Special Climate Change Fund that focuses on adaptive methods to climate change. GEF wants innovative project proposals that showcase these methods of adaptation. The residents were advised tat projects and proposals had to be written in order to gain access to these funds. Community groups can access US$50,00 for environment projects.

 

 APPENDIX

 

Table 1: Key Stakeholders

Name

Organization

Contact Number

Wesley James

Public Works Department

462-2953

Ruth Spencer

GEF – National Co-Ordinator

783-7286

Rolston Knight

Yorks Community Group

773 1933

Cortwright Marshall

Bolans Community Group

764 5886

Steve Henry

Cashew Hill Community Group

765 2310

Frederick Southwell

DCA

462 2038

Lionel Michael

CBH

462 2536

Presentation at Yorks Community Consultation 

Presentation at Cashew Hill Community Consultation


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