An Overview Of Our Solution
- Population Impacted
- Continent: South America
Victoria Pritchard Resource Center
Trinidad & Tobago
4,042 sq km
Local resources the community depends on, and for what purpose
Local threats to resources
Level of sensitivity
Level of adaptive capacity
The objective of this project is to introduce the concept of Rainwater Harvesting as a regular and sustainable physical activity in the daily lives of participants and residents. Residents from the North-eastern region of Trinidad, Matura to Matelot (the 17 communities under consideration are Matura, Salybia, Langusta, Rampanalgas, Guayama, Cumana, Toco, Mission, L?Anse Noire, Trois Roches, Big Bay, Sans Souci, Maya, Monte Video, Grand Riviere, St Helena, and Matelot). The reduction of dependence on the ecosystem stem from the following: 1. Diversified or alternative livelihoods (the reduction of unemployment from Matura to Matelot by creating a sustainable system that generates an income to be managed) 2. Improved food security (production and harvesting of tilapia, fresh water prawns and short crops i.e. lettuce, ground provisions, tomatoes, etc) 3. Improved hazard risk management (the absolute elimination of harmful chemicals and pesticides used in traditional farming. The module would act as an organic and nutritional source of water provided by the run off from the aqua farming aspect of the module). Research will be carried out in the targeted communities and sites identified following which, a package of technologies will be introduced to help increase water productivity and fill a gap between water demand and supply. To ensure that the risk level for both the aqua farm and soil quality is monitored to acceptable levels: measurement of the PH level such as how much acid, oxygen, lead, zinc or alkaline in the water/ soil would be tested. The expected results include: 1. Dependency on traditional State resources and infrastructure significantly reduced 2. 50 households possessing additional technology for water conservation, aquaculture farming, hydroponics, agriculture activity, and land use during a critical period of climate change 3. Sustainable livelihoods significantly developed as an alternative to oil and gas dependency 4. Independent water supply systems. 5. Communities? traditional self-reliance enhanced and environmental activity in practice developed 6. Safe and monitored levels of PH, Alkalinity, Oxygen, DO and Nitrates in the water 7. Low-cost water harvesting technologies promoted 8. Farmers and other beneficiaries trained in water harvesting technologies 9. Possibilities for replication elsewhere, providing the project with a national character
Economic Indicators used to measure benefit
This aspect would be measured when the development of the first 10 plots in Phase 1 when completed as the construction of the modules has started in March, 2013. However, the testing of the water to verify contamination levels (sample testing) would be measured and recorded (baseline data) Additionally, the Toco Foundation's RWHP team will undertake during the course of the project would engage the related State Agencies to undertake this exercise. Moreover, the activities among the school population will be used to assist with the testing.
Community/Social Indicators used to measure benefit
Economic Cost: The Toco Foundation is in collaboration with the Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources - Green Fund Executing Unit in order for the RWHP to be successfully implemented. Five years after going to the drawing board for a rain water harvesting project, the Toco Foundation has been granted TT$17 million .The Toco foundation, which is now a member of the international organisation Global Water Partnership, received a start up sum of $4 million in June 2012. Each module would cost TT$162,000.00 (inclusive of labor and material costs). Part of our extended community building exercise, the hiring of young talented and skilled men were employed within each village to ensure that they also were included in the construction of the module. As such, they have indicated that they feel more acquainted and appreciative that the RWHP considered their input in the project's success. In addition, over 2500 persons would be trained during the course of the projected 4 years in: ? water harvesting: Infrastructural Inputs and Functions ? aquaculture farming ? hydroponic grow-box production ? biodiversity conservation and sustainable land use ? Land Engineering and Water Location ? Animal Husbandry and Soil Conservation ? Water Management and Conservation ? Food Production and Water Use ? Farming Management and Enterprise ? Cooperative Studies and Outcomes ? Financial Literacy and Micro-credit Financing 2. Successful candidates are able to become entrepreneurs, thus enabling them to generate their own income to support their families 3. Integrated knowledge and technical skills are exchanged and enhanced with the use of training with the aid of partnered stakeholders.
Economic Benefits: 1. Climate change adaption awareness among community significantly enhanced 2. Land use and conservation awareness strengthened 3. Biodiversity conservation capabilities broadened, particularly re: water habits 4. Dependency on traditional State resources and infrastructure significantly reduced 5. 50 households possesses additional technology for water conservation, aquaculture farming agricultural activity and land use during a critical period of climate change 6. Sustainable livelihoods significantly developed as an alternative to oil and gas dependency 7. Communities? traditional self-reliance enhanced and environmental activity in practice developed 8. Low-cost water harvesting technologies promoted 9. Farmers and other beneficiaries trained in water harvesting technologies 10. Possibilities for replication elsewhere provide the project with a national character
Ecological Indicators used to measure benefit
The baseline survey that was conducted in November 2012 (6 week period) did provide a comprehensive insight into the water issues that are plaguing each community. The baseline data was essential in order to set reasonable goals, to quantify results and to verify objectives that have actually been met, particularly in communities where data was not readily available. The survey determined the social, community and environmental conditions for site selection and to inform residents about the ongoing project. Community investigation was able to determine the need for training, water service delivery, access, usage, needs and capacities and the existing water-related cultural practices and ideologies. 1. As such, monitoring and Evaluation in each of the 3 Phases would be conducted every 6 to 12 months as strategic partners, stakeholders and community acceptance, support and participation in the project's activities would identify how successful the training and RWHP would be. 2. The RWHP's progress report/ individual testimonials would gauge the success and its replication. 3. Evaluation reports conducted by independent consultants 4. Initiation Ceremony conducted 5. Pictures demonstrating every step of the implementation process
What were/are the challenges your community faced in implementing this solution?
The challenges that the community faced in implementing this solution are as follows: 1. Some persons are not interested due to the cooperative requirement but that is seen as an advantage since the RWHP would have unified, professional and responsible persons. 2. Levels of literacy relative to water procurement, storage, transportation, utility and management at the household level is lacking in each community. However, the RWHP team is committed to engage each community with public awareness/ training mobilization/ promotion and advertising strategies that have proven to be a resilient tool. We have continued to pursue communities on a one-on-one basis and the result has been forthcoming. 3. Status of water security/ adaptive practices at the household level is needed but we have continued to encourage villagers to attend meetings based on the appropriate and affordable technologies/ channels that are available.
Describe the community-based process used to develop the solution including tools and processes used
Rather than relying on meetings with key stakeholders, the Toco Foundation Rainwater Harvesting Project?s method included months of public meetings, household-to-household advocacy, and an extensive six to eight week survey to determine social, community and environmental conditions, to provide criteria for site selection, and to inform the ongoing project. Realizing the need for regular and sustained communities, the TF RWHP makes use of its own key and powerful local communication tools developed with the target community ? namely Radio Toco 106.7 FM and Eastern Voice Newspapers-throughout the life of the project and beyond, to promote its activities and long-term behavioral change. Selection of the 50 households will be selected based on needs, in context of the individual and the community. The baseline survey has determined that the basic requirements for the project, including security of tenure and permission. The plan does not include any community reservoir or catchment ? the community plan is based on 50 individual plots, which will provide the community with a decentralized water project. Stakeholders: CATEGORY A: Name of Stakeholder Type: (Public/ Government, Private Sector. NGO/CBO, Community, other) Stake: (contributor, interested party, other) Contribution: (cash, donation, in-kind, technical, other) Targeted Communities: (Community Interested Parties, In-Kind 1. Environmental Management Authority (EMA) State Agency Interested Parties Technical/ Advisory Services 2. Water and Sewerage Authority (WASA) State Agency State Agency Technical/ Advisory Services 3. Water Resources Agency State Agency Contributor Technical/ Advisory Services 4. The University of the West Indies Tertiary Education Contributor Technical/ Advisory Services 5. Ministry of Agriculture, Land and Marine Resources Government Contributor Technical/ Advisory Services 6. Ministry of Health Government Contributor Technical/ Advisory Services 8. Ministry of Planning, Housing and the Environment/ Green Fund Executing Unit Government Contributor Technical/ Advisory Services 9. NIHERST State Agency Contributor Training/ Advisory CATEGORY B: 10. Agriculture Society of Trinidad and Tobago State Agency Contributor Training/ Advisory 11. National Foodcrop Farmers Association NGO Contributor Training/ Advisory 12. Sangre Grande Regional Corportation Government Contributor Training/ Advisory 13. Sugarcane Feed Centre State Agency Contributor Training/ Advisory 14. Farmers Groups CBO Contributor/ interested parties Training/ Advisory 15. Trinidad and Tobago Agribusiness Association (TTABA) State Agency Contributor Training/ Advisory 16. National Entrepreneurship Development Co. State Agency Contributor Training/ Advisory 17. Fondes Amandes Community Re-forestation Project CBO Contributor Training/ Advisory 18. Grow Box Solutions NGO Contributor Training/ Advisory 19. West and Associates Private Sector Contributor Training/ Advisory 20. Pointe-A-Pierre Wildfowl Trust NGO Contributor Training/ Advisory The project?s aim is to reach 50 households in the targeted areas between Matura to Matelot in Northeast Trinidad to help identity water related issues and provide possible solutions to the water management problems that currently exist hence increasing productivity. The project will be implemented in three phases for a period of four (4) years. Additional Statistical Information that was used to design an alternative solution like the since a significant number of rural residents are employed: The Toco Region (Matura to Matelot) lies on the North Eastern Coast of Trinidad, located sixty-five (65 miles) from the capital of Port-of-Spain, twenty two (22) miles by sea to Tobago and one hour drive from the nearest hospital in the town of Sangre Grande, twenty (20) miles away. The Toco Coast is a very diverse community with varying socio-economic and cultural ingredients. These ingredients have influenced the attitude and behavior of the people, both adults and youths. County St. David is generally known as the Toco Region, which is taken to include all thirteen major villages along the Toco Main Road from Matura to Matelot. The Region has a population of approximately eleven thousand (11,000) (CSO Population Survey 2000 listed it at 9,500). The area is a representation of ethnic diversity with 66.2% of the population being of African descent 13.8 % of East Indian, 0.1 % Caucasion, 0.2% Chinese and 19.7 % described as Mixed. Many of the social, economic and cultural factors affecting the region are poverty, lack of employment, low self-esteem, gender inequality, lack of access to services, information and technology, breakdown of family values, and the culture of exclusivity among others. The main economic activity has long since been Agriculture and Farming. Currently, successful agriculture practice persists mainly in the villages of Grande Riviere, Sans Souci, Cumana and Matura. Among the persons employed, 60 per cent in all sectors are working for the national minimum wage of TT$10.00 per hour.
Climate hazard of concern
How does your solution reduce the exposure of and buffer/protect the ecosystem affected?
The Rainwater Harvesting Project seeks to reduce the reliance of municipal water resources in rural areas. Residents can have an improved livelihood throughout the communities identified as well as producing and harvesting their own food source (i.e. tilapia/crayfish and short term crops). To be able to sustain the RWHP, the primary level of conservation is providing training to the general population to become aware of the issues related to climate change and water conservation as a full range of skills associated with the project will help them to understand the full dimension and scope of the project. Thus, residents can become front line advocates in issues affecting the environment including issues of remedial altering by introducing the concept of water harvesting as a regular and sustainable physical activity and to develop the widespread use of an alternative source in order maximize and augment the local water supply. In addition, the RWHP would act as a harvesting intercession to save persons from manually collecting water especially children and improve the household sanitation and human health. Another aspect of RWHP is to protect all crustaceans, fish and other river life form the possible extinction through the current harvesting practice using dangerous and harmful chemicals in our river courses. As this method of harvesting is a threat to all forms of river life; it pollutes both the river and sea and is very harmful to human beings via consumption. The project is multifaceted, while it is understood that ill practices are not immediately fixed, the program can educate residents about dangerous chemicals used by humans in the fragile eco-system (especially rivers and streams) within North East Trinidad. By introducing specific/focused public awareness programs to maintain a balance for both environment/ human and the continued existence and protection of the Fresh Water Prawns also known as the ?River Lobster? or ?Marquis? in local circles and other related forms of river life, the RWHP is driven in the the conservation and sustainability of the existing bio-diversity and ecosystems. The communities that would benefit from the RWHP would be able to produce and harvest their own tilapia and fresh water prawns. Thus, a means of alternative farming introduced to improve livelihoods and results in a demonstration harvesting pond as a model to share with other local communities and less stress or need on the natural environment.
How has your solution increased the capacity of the ecosystem to adapt to potential climate changes?
According to the UNEP Policy Brief, 2010, ?the ecosystem underpins all of the resources and goods upon which humans depend and therefore are critical for securing human wellbeing? The RWHP is making an investment in the ecosystem by attempting to bridge both human development by: 1. Supporting rural communities by stimulating interest in the protection the environment (ecosystem) by engaging provocative and critical thinking into how they can permanently adopt a more responsible approach in using ecosystem services (social transformational change); 2. Participants are able to simulate a proactive approach in the production and harvesting of their own food source, thus decreasing the need to depend on marine/ river sources); 3. Gradual success in economic and social growth thus improving the Gross National Product (GDP), national income since there is a severe pressure/ dependence on the local government services to provide water quality, energy, management and mitigation of natural disasters, food security and health care. 4. Creation of a cost efficient system that aids both the household and the community as a whole since several rural communities such as Cumana, L?Anse Noire, Matelot and Grande Riviere are considered ?fishing villages?, whose sole income is generated by small scale farming, forestry and fishing and live under the minimum wage (being one of the poorest in the region) who predominantly depend on natural ecosystems for their incomes and have minute ability to adapt to climate change. Each community is fitted with 2 modules that would enable the unemployed to be hired and serves as an additional buffer to move away from human inertia and ecosystem exhaustion. 5. The poisoning of river courses are significantly reduced as the acquisition of prawns can be easily purchased from RWH module holders. These modules would promote an official ?go too? supplier. The hopes of this project to be capitalized by others within the rural districts in terms of adaption/ replication by others. 6. The building of the module does not leave a negative/ residual effect on the environment as its construction does not disrupt any river courses, water runoff is directly channeled into the soil, negotiation in positioning module as small plants is necessary (i.e.: fig trees, plants are removed but we are not interfering/removing deep rooted nitrogen fixing trees/ plants).
How does your solution reduce the exposure of and buffer/protect the communities affected?
The RWHP seeks to reduce the exposure of and buffer/ protect commodities by: 1. Since the majority of community residents require natural resources to survive, the RWHP provides a maintainable production of a food source that can ensure long-term access to these resources by giving rural communities the chance to channel their efforts into its preservation though regular training, public awareness, campaigning, monitoring and evaluation reporting through the project live time and after. 2. The baseline survey supported evidence that since rural communities have the least impact or capability of contributing negatively to the environment (i.e.; carbon emissions, logging, quarrying, or deforestation) it would be a challenge or near to impossible for them to relocate their livelihoods or alter their income source. Thus, the RWHP re-enforces/ buffers their networking and partnerships with State Agencies and Government bodies to assist in the preservation of land use and eco-systems. RWHP essentially seeks to protect green cover, water courses and quality (purification), soil conservation and land use.
How does your solution reduce the sensitivity of the communities affected?
Drought is a major contributor to crop loss (low yields), lowers the level of livestock production and increases the risk of diseases. Throughout our investigations in the 17 communities, the availability of water is fundamental to small scale agricultural success since the majority does not have the proper irrigation and pumping technologies to their respective farmlands. As such, they are not prepared in the storage of rainwater; hence inadequate levels cannot meet both farming and household needs. The RWHP has the capacity to contain over 6000 gallons of water that can last throughout a drought period of 6 months and more, the recycled water can be used to irrigate farming lands, provides households with an alternative source (no access to municipal water and with the advent of lowered levels of precipitation), provision of an alternative food source when rivers courses are dry, safe water for animal husbandry consumption and additional activities in hydroponic grow box production.
How has your solution increased the capacity of local communities to adapt to potential climate changes?
The RWHP has increased the capacity of local communities to adapt to potential climate change by: 1. Their own independent water source ? those who do not have a sustainable and safe water source for non-potable uses 2. Collective interactions and networking through training and successful candidates interaction, thus developing the social consciousness of the community 3. Mind-opening techniques and systems that can be easily replicated within communities and the general public 4. Mobilization efforts are seen by others who then wish to be a part of the training 5. Creation of an independent food source (creation of additional income). 6. Carbon footprints are significantly reduced as trainees are educated on the effects of indiscriminate dumping and burning of garbage (to the immediate environment and river ways) 7. Creating a positive change as villagers improve and develop their critical thinking skills, thus being able to evaluate their surroundings and environment 8. Successful water management ? waste water, disposal and use 9. Improved attitudes towards the environment
Can this solution be replicated elsewhere?
The RWHP is a pilot project and can be replicated anywhere with the holistic COMMUNITY in mind. The project serves to act as a supportive initiative as all those who are successful have a collective network to pool aquaculture products and resources. Success depends largely on community participation, the exchange of ideas for maintenance and sustainability, periodic evaluation systems to monitor, mitigate and resolve current and future risks. The sustainability of the project will be assured through the establishment of both the Water Harvesting Producers Cooperative and the Microcredit Plan, which will build capacity for self-generating income as well as a strong sense of collective self-ownership on the part of the participants and the community, to the concept of ?we? not ?I?. Moreover, this will be done by: 1. Strengthening the cooperative component of the project 2. Providing markets for produce through collaboration with Trinidad and Tobago Agri Business Association (TTABA) 3. Providing paid expertise and consultancies to other communities 4. Marketing and advertising the rainwater harvesting as a sustainable project 5. Attracting other agencies to the project as contributing partners The RWHP officially started in June 2012 and has a 4 year completion time frame. The opportunity to replicate this initiative has not yet been released by other NGOs, and countries but it is gaining momentum as numerous calls for its implementation outside of the stated parameter has been noted and already invitations of partnerships. The RWHP is the first of its kind to have a module that incorporates a rainwater harvesting catchment, fitted with tilapia and fresh water prawn ponds that uses the same rainwater and an aquaponics unit that is established in a rural community.