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Wood and the UN work to improve water resilience in Grenada supporting SDGs 3, 6, and 13
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Wood teams up with United Nations Environment Program to improve water resilience in Grenada supporting SDGs 3, 6, and 13.

This article is the first in a series of stories on the work Wood is doing in partnership with the United Nations, NGOs, the private sector, and governments to support the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The diverse chain of islands that make up the Caribbean all have one challenge in common: climate change. Despite their small carbon footprints – in comparison to more developed countries – Caribbean island states are among the most vulnerable to the impacts of climate risk, including rising sea levels, extreme weather events and changing rainfall patterns.

The mounting pressure of climate change is threatening the sustainable development of many island nations that strongly depend on tourism for economic growth, especially small island developing states, like Grenada who has a population over 100k. In 2019 alone, the island generated 490 million US dollars in tourism. Reliable access to a safe supply of water is critical to keeping the tourism sector alive – a cornerstone of Grenada’s economic resilience.

Stretching only 21 miles long, Grenada heavily depends on rainwater catchment and surface water for its freshwater supply. After suffering two severe droughts in 2010 and 2012, leaders of the region’s water sector have been seeking the answer to one critical question: how can we improve water resource management to ensure the availability of clean freshwater for current and future generations?

With the recent prediction that rainfall in Grenada will continue to reduce, lowering to between 25 to 30% of current values by the end of the century, the need for a sustainable solution has never been greater. The demand for water is also expected to increase across many sectors – most notably tourism – further intensifying the strain on accessible water supplies across the island.

In alignment with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals 6 and 13, the National Water and Sewerage Authority (NAWASA) in Grenada is taking action to strengthen their resilience to the threat of climate change and ensure the future availability of high-quality, clean drinking water.

Through funding provided by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization/Climate Change Technology Network programme, Wood has worked in partnership with NAWASA to pioneer an open-source geographical information system (GIS) capability with a specific focus on driving future monitoring and management of clean water resources across the island. Our local digital partner, GISCAD Limited, supported Wood in these efforts.

We developed improved digital infrastructure layers for the new GIS system, trained NAWASA employees in digital data capture techniques and calculated the amount of water lost in the system before it reaches the customer.

By improving data accessibility and information flows, the GIS structure and capacity building will enable NAWASA to target immediate leakage issues and provide reliable water supplies for residents and tourists alike. The outputs of the project will also advise NAWASA’s considerations on future infrastructure investment options, which fully align with the strategic objectives outlined in Grenada’s National Climate Change Adaptation Plan.

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