Between 2011 and 2014, T&T reportedly experienced 695 flood events, 277 strong wind events and 179 landslide events.

In a release to mark World Water Day 2022, the UNDP says it is imperative that there be investment in risk reduction to ensure that disasters and climate change do not derail development progress or that development strategies do not inadvertently create new risks.

It says one such investment is the early detection of potential flooding incidents, which is being done through the installation of a Community Flood Early Warning System in seven communities across both islands.

The system is a two-year project that aims to strengthen individual, community and national capacities to prepare for and respond to hazard impacts; generate impact-based early warning of floods and effectively plan and execute anticipatory actions.

A consortium of national partners is working with the UNDP to install flood stream gauges and monitoring equipment, train volunteers and strengthen governance.

The equipment will gather data which, when conveyed to a central system, will facilitate the ongoing analysis of information for forecasting of flood events and to provide communities with early warnings of imminent floods.

The installations will be managed by the Water Resources Agency which, together with the Ministry of Local Government, will garner support from community advocates and volunteers by capacity building through Community Emergency Response Training (CERT) and Community Hydrological Observer (CHO) training.

The project is funded by the European Union Humanitarian Aid Operation initiative, which focuses on food and nutrition, shelter, healthcare, water and sanitation, and education in emergencies.

Meanwhile, the UNDP says water is top-of-mind, both in the dry season, when there is typically not enough and in the rainy season, when there may be too much.

It says in each season persons and communities must be mindful of their behaviours and actions because of the impact they can have.

In particular, it reminds of the cycle of littering and improper garbage disposal and flooding due to trash filled waterways.

In their message for World Water Day and ahead of the UN Water Conference in 2023, the UN has issued a call for a commitment to improve exploration, monitoring, and analysis of groundwater resources to protect and better manage them.

The UNDP’s statement says “Let’s keep this message in mind, examine our own behaviours and that of our communities, and do our best to keep our waterways clean and clear, free of debris and garbage and flowing back into the natural water cycle. Doing this will result in fewer floods, less disasters, more water resources, a healthier environment, and it will help achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.”

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