Sourcing Surface Water from the Vega-Oropouche Watershed for Potable Water Treatment; An Adaptive Response to Climate Change in an Eastern Caribbean Country

Adrian Lutchman and Festus Addo-Yobo, University of Trinidad and Tobago, Point LIsas, Trinidad


Many Eastern Caribbean Countries suffer variations in rainfall patterns, with attendant periods of drought and excessive downpour and flooding partly due to the adverse impacts of climate change on local weather patterns (Tenecia Stephenson). As a result it has become necessary to modify or create additional infrastructure to achieve resilient supply to meet the needs of the population.

The work examines the use of natural and indigenous resources (river-retention pond system) which is less expensive in augmenting existing infrastructure improve resilience compared to building dams or artificial ponds.

This presentation exploits GSFLOW, an open source software, for mechanistic modelling of the hydrology of the watershed as a tool for managing the provision of surface water for potable treatment. The Vega-Oropuche watershed has only one major river, an aquifer and ponds which have been created by sand mining decades ago which can now be opportunistically harnessed for storage of water from for the above purpose and which in future can also be used for water retention to mitigate flooding.

The model requires time series input of precipitation and temperature, which are influenced by climate change. Their impact on the water budget and the availability of water for potable treatment are discussed.

It can be concluded from this work that modelling of the characteristics of watersheds, the recharge from neighbouring rivers and ponds in locality of the Vega-Oropouche River in Trinidad and Tobago, is useful for assessing the feasibility of water projects, and their resilience to climate change.

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