The Dominica Water and Sewerage Company, DOWASCO, has outlined its plans for realizing a more climate resilient water system.
The specifications of that strategy were disclosed by General Manager, Bernard Etinoffe, last week at the National Rebuilding and Economic Partnership Consultation.
Plans for this climate resilient water system include consultations for creating a more robust water infrastructure.
“A technical advisor will be recruited shortly to prepare terms of reference for the various consultancies to be undertaken to determine the relevant interventions necessary to build the required resilience in the water structure. Infrastructure projects will follow based on the outcome of the consultancies and the recommended interventions could begin as early as January 2019,” Etinoffe informed.
To facilitate the plans of the company, the Government of Dominica has earmarked funds provided by the United Kingdom Government Department for International Development (DFID) for technical assistance and capital works in the water sector in Dominica. The Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) will be providing management support in this regard.
“Among the measures required are early warning systems; with funding and technical support from the World Bank under the Disaster Vulnerability Reduction Project, DOWASCO along with other key stakeholder agencies, such as the Forestry and the Met Services has embarked on a project to install hydro met stations for stream flow and rain fall measurements at strategic locations throughout Dominica,” he added.
According to Etinoffe, upgraded technology for monitoring water levels is also on the cards.
He informed further that “under the third water supply project funded by the CDB and the Government of Dominica, DOWASCO is procuring a Supervisory Controlant Data Acquisition (SCADA) system that will allow remote monitoring of the water supply system starting with water Area One network. New bulk meters and system control valves and gauges will be used to relay information such as flow rates, pressures and water levels in reservoirs in real time so that decisions can be made in more appropriate time.”
Since the passage of Hurricane Maria, DOWASCO has employed the use of generators for pumping water in areas where there is still no electricity.
The General Manager says this method will become a staple as a backup system in all areas where water is pumped to customers.
“Some of the climate resilient techniques will include backup generators required for each pumping station- DOWASCO at the moment utilizes mainly gravity fed systems but we recognize the need to have backup generators at each pumping station so that when the grid fails we can move to those generators and ensure that people have water at their homes in quick time,” Etinoffe said.
DOWASCO is also considering liaising with the Ministry of Public Works to incorporate protective utility corridors in the design of new bridges rather than allowing transmission lines to hang external to the bridges.
Consideration will be given to the application of stream bed infiltration galleries as opposed to surface water abstraction systems. The aim is to reduce the exposure to heavy debris in the event of flooding.
“We’re going to be looking at where we abstract water from, how those systems are designed to ensure that resilience is built in those systems. We are also going to be looking at the locations, whether we continue to go upstream to get gravity flow or whether we use lower down-stream where the water is even more readily available and use pumping systems utilizing renewable energy to pump water as opposed to fossil fuels.”
For promoting rapid excavation after flood events, DOWASCO, will employ strategies for avoiding sedimentation buildup.
Increase water storage and reforestation are also part of the Company’s plan for building a more climate resilient water system.