The College of Science, Technology and Applied Arts of Trinidad and Tobago (COSTAATT) hosted a 3-day training workshop entitled “Drought Risk Management” which is being held at the COSTAATT Chaguanas Campus, on October 24 -27, 2017. The workshop was held in collaboration with CAP-NET/UNDP and Caribbean WaterNet to provide industry professionals with the necessary information and tools towards enhancing the management capacity of participants regarding water resources.
Dr. Gillian Paul, President of COSTAATT said the topic of water resource management is dear to the College, “Many of you will not be aware, but COSTAATT was one of the first institutions to introduce a bachelor’s degree in Water Resource Management, working extensively with the United Nations in partnership with NIHERST to support water resource training through our department in Environmental Studies. We feel this workshop is very much at home here because we have a track record of being concerned about environment and we believe in training people to manage the environment.”
Feature Speaker at the workshop’s opening ceremony, the Honourable Clarence Rambharat, Minister of Agriculture, Land and Fisheries said the sporadic weather patterns are a cause for concern as it is one of the most glaring examples of climate change, “I have a particular interest in this topic because I am from a constituency whose boundaries are basically marked by water. I am particularly sensitive to weather patterns and what is happening in the country, and the consequences of not being prepared all the time.” He called on first responder agencies to step up their game in helping residents and businesses alleviate flooding.
Senior Lecturer of COSTAATT’s Department of Natural and Life Sciences and Network Manager of Caribbean WaterNet Cap-Net UNDP, Dr. Ronald Roopnarine called for a proactive approach to deal with the effects of drought. This, according to him, takes place over a period of time and is slow and not sporadic like what happens with flooding. He said, “It is something that requires intricate management and I hope that all the workshop participants, through the expert knowledge of the facilitators, gain the necessary information required for implementation and action.”
The workshop focused on establishing a Drought Risk Management Framework, Strategic Planning for Drought Risk Management, Drought Preparedness and Emergency Management/Recovery.
Within recent times, Trinidad and Tobago has experienced unpredictable weather which has often compromised or exposed the inability of water distribution agencies to effectively meet the needs of the population. During the last three months of 2009, the country experienced severe drought which extended into the first quarter of 2010, with rainfall averaging approximately 25% less than expected, based on historical averages. This drought episode was accompanied by severe forest fires, incidences of crop failure and flash flooding during some spells of post-drought rainfall.