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2009-2011 Coastal Aquifer Systems (UNESCO-IHP)

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Adoption Measures to Climate Change Impacts on Coastal Aquifer Systems in the Caribbean Project

The “Adaptation Measures to Climate Change Impacts on Coastal Aquifer Systems in the Caribbean” project was funded by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization International Hydrological Programme (UNESCO-IHP) and the Italian Ministry for Environment and Territory (IMET) under its Water Programme for Environmental Sustainability (WPA II). The Executing Agency was the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre.


On September 18, 2008 an Implementation Partnership Agreement (IPA) was signed between the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC) to support the “Adoption Measures to Climate Change Impacts on Coastal Aquifer Systems in the Caribbean Project”. The main objective of the project was to develop and apply a Groundwater Management Model to assess and manage the selected aquifer systems at Erin Aquifer in Trinidad and Tobago and Rio Cobre Basin in Jamaica on a continuous basis, and to make recommendations on best practices for the protection and development of those sites and other similar aquifer systems in the project countries and within the Region using the opportunity to build capacity.

The main results of the project were identified as:

1. Quantitative evaluation of climate change and human-induced effects on the groundwater sustainability of the two pilot sites;

2. Suitable mitigation and adaptation measures for groundwater resources management;

3. Evaluation of hydrological adaptability measures in terms of replicability, sustainability, impacts on both global and regional climate change, and equity in access to groundwater, both in quantitative and qualitative terms, by referring to growth rates for economic sectors, and to well-being indicators about health, poverty, et cetera, for social segments;

4. Training and capacity building of stakeholders and institutions in the regions studied;

5. Recommendations based on project results to decision and policy makers; and dissemination of project results (e.g., reports, publications, web pages, internet conferences).

A decision was later made to change the aquifer to be modeled in Jamaica from the Rio Cobre Basin to the Yallahs.

Project Implementation

Inception occurred in Trinidad in early February 2009. Implementation included field missions to the sites in Trinidad and Jamaica in late November and early December 2009. In 2010, more progress was made in terms of the modeling, with results available for presentation by end of 2011. The process involved the development and utilization of conceptual and the construction of numerical models, and was conducted over several months in 2010 and 2011.

Software such as MODFLOW was acquired by Trinidad to conduct the modeling and climate change data was submitted provided by the CCCCC. Some other inputs required for the implementation of the project included collection of groundwater data from various sources, stakeholder consultation, establishing scenarios for the modeling, consideration of economic and social impacts, and model calibration and validation.

Next steps

Both Trinidad and Jamaica will continue to refine the models with additional data that had become available.

Selected project reports and products

Workshop on “Coastal Aquifer Management in the Caribbean”, Trinidad, 14th to 16th December 2011 - Agenda and Presentations and Photos.




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