MOVES are afoot locally to help protect and save the lives of residents who may be at risk to intense flooding.
The possible loss of lives is a shocking reality for Saint Lucia and other Small Island Developing States (SIDS) most affected by the impact of climate change, which fuels a greater intensity and frequency of adverse weather systems like hurricanes and flash floods.
Saint Lucia`s Water Resource Management Agency (WRMA) within the Ministry of Sustainable Development, Energy, Science and Technology is implementing an early warning system and hydrological monitoring for the Water Management and Disaster Risk Reduction project, funded by the Australian government.
There are three components to the project with one component specifically focused on enhancing meteorological and hydrological data collection, as well as establishing early flood warning systems in Castries, Anse la Raye and Canaries.
This component will utilize data captured by rain gauges and automatic weather stations. The data will be communicated via Very High Frequency (VHF) to a control station and will be monitored by staff of the Saint Lucia Meteorological Services and the WRMA. When rainfall has reached a threshold to trigger warning for flood, the software from the control station will communicate to the siren via VHF to produce the audio alarm. Two thresholds for flooding will be set: the warning for possible flooding; and the warning for flood evacuation. Over time, data from stream gauging stations will be analyzed with rainfall data in order to improve the flooding threshold.
Community meetings with residents of Castries, Anse la Raye and Canaries to discuss the establishment of the flood early warning and siren system will take place between now and September. 11.
Residents of Canaries are invited to join the discussion at the Canaries Community Centre from 6:30 p.m. tomorrow. Consultations will be held with residents of Anse La Raye on September 3 and September 24 at the Community Parish Hall from 6:30 p.m.
The Water Resource Management Agency within the Ministry of Sustainable Development, Energy, Science and Technology intends to implement this system in all flood-vulnerable communities around the island.