Minister for Natural Resources and Labour, Hon Melvin M. Turnbull (R2) has announced that the European Union and their partners Expertise France, have provided the Virgin Islands (VI) with a grant in the amount of 927,890 Euros or approximately $965,000 US dollars through the Overseas Countries and Territories’ Resilience, Sustainable Energy, and Marine Biodiversity Programme - RESEMBID.
According to the Minister, the grant builds on the support received from the EU to assist with environment management activities in the Virgin Islands and will enhance the current Water Quality Monitoring Programme.
Prior efforts centred on the implementation of the Global Climate Change Alliance project, which delivered tangible projects in the communities of Cane Garden Bay and Brewers Bay, in the form of coastal stabilization and drainage to increase the resilience of those communities.
According to the Minister, the grant
builds on the support received from the EU to assist with environment
management activities in the Virgin Islands and will enhance the current
Water Quality Monitoring Programme.
VI's has deep reliance on coastal & marine - Hon Turnbull
Hon Turnbull reminded that the Virgin Islands
relies on the coastal and marine areas for its recreation, food sources and tourism amenities.
“Moreover, we rely on clean coastal waters to support life and livelihoods. Our potable water comes from desalinated water collected from the nearshore. Therefore, the standard of care for the sources of our drinking water needs to be high.”
He said the Water Quality Monitoring Programme provides the base of evidence required to inform actions leading to better outcomes for the local coastal and marine areas and to enhance human well-being.
Hon Turnbull added that the RESEMBID project titled Strengthening the Virgin Islands
’ Water Quality Programme to Inform Effective Environmental Management and Spatial Planning, builds on the water quality programme undertaken by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Labour’s Environment and Climate Change Unit.
The project strives to address the constraints that exist within the current Water Quality Programme through the redesign of a comprehensive, water quality monitoring programme along with capacity building of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Labour’s staff and its implementing partners, which includes the H. Lavity Stoutt Community College, the National Parks Trust and the Department of Information Technology.
Vessel to be procured - Hon Turnbull
Further, he said the programme will look into the procurement of a vessel to support the work of the Environment Unit and much-needed water quality testing along with IT equipment, including hardware and software to support expanded monitoring and enhanced data warehousing and analysis.
The Programme will also seek the establishment of a water quality baselines for areas and water-quality parameters of concern, that are not currently covered by the existing programme.