The civil works component of the ‘Ridge to Reef’ Project along Highway 1 was launched at the Greenbelt area, Holetown, St. James, this morning.
The ‘Ridge to Reef’ project has two components. Component one was a study which was completed back in December 2017 (Adaptation Measures to Counter the Effects of Climate Change (AMCECC) with a Focus on Water Resource Management and Flood Resilience).
Based on the findings, a number of key areas within Barbados were identified for infrastructural works, including Holetown and Trents in St. James.
Component two involves civil construction works, which will be carried out by INFRA Inc., beginning at the Greenbelt area Holetown, St. James, along the West Coast, going towards Trents, St. James.
The key aspects of the project involve an updated storm water management plan; strategic flood reduction civil works to watercourses between the Holetown and Trents area; holistic management of the Holetown Lagoon; comprehensive storm water and groundwater quality study; complementary education, awareness, outreach (for example the website) and a training component; diligent monitoring and evaluation protocols; and development of a plan for institutional strengthening of key agencies and stakeholders.
Minister of Environment and National Beautification, Trevor Prescod, believes the project will result in cleaner and less nutrient-rich water entering the Folkestone Marine Reserve, thus mitigating the overall negative impacts associated with flood events.
Ambassador to Barbados, the Eastern Caribbean and the OECS, Linda Taglialatela, highlighted that USAID is “mindful of the proximity of the planned construction to the Folkestone Marine Park”.
As a result, a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) will be signed with the Government of Barbados, through the Ministry of Environment and National Beautification to establish a long term programme of regular maintenance of the facilities and ensure regular monitoring of sedimentation flows and water quality to avert any negative impacts to the environment.
With the adverse effects of climate change on small island developing states, Project Manager of the Project Management Coordination Unit, Ricardo Marshall, noted that it was necessary that adaptation and mitigation measures, such as the ‘Ridge to Reef’ Project, are being undertaken to primarily reduce the potential negative impacts of catastrophic weather events, especially flooding, particularly in the West Coast area.
It was highlighted from a water resource perspective that components of the civil works would focus on groundwater augmentation in the higher reaches, along with increased retention and storage capacity, for example in the Holetown Lagoon, but would also address watercourses W23 to W28.
The Ministry of Environment and National Beautification is appealing to all residents and businesses within the project area that would be affected by the upcoming works to be patient and understanding, and to cooperate with ministry officials and the contractors, INFRA Inc. and their associates.