Government’s Coastal Zone Management Unit (CZMU) will shortly be embarking on a series of scientific studies expected to bolster its ongoing work programme.

Word of this has come from CZMU Director, Dr. Leo Brewster, who said the studies will be funded through a recently-acquired US$30 million Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) loan, the majority of which will be used for maintenance of existing projects.

Speaking days after Government initialled the loan agreement during an official visit by IDB President, Luis Alberto Moreno, Dr. Brewster explained:?? "We are going back to science, so we are looking at conducting some diagnostic and baseline studies to help bolster our projects. With the passage of time, things change and we, therefore, need to refresh our data."

The CZMU head indicated that the studies would examine such areas as water quality management, changes in land use and changes in offshore fisheries – looking specifically at land slippage and instability within the Scotland District, in light of numerous applications for development within that area and along the coastlines.

"Once these?? are completed, we have to get all that data amassed with the existing data which we have, as well as data from other agencies, then what we are?? planning to do is work on a schematic," Dr. Brewster disclosed, noting that while this mapping tool was relatively new to Barbados, it was used?? worldwide.

"It will be a first for the Caribbean at this level and detail. The maps that had been done for Barbados in the past were done on a more general scale and were part of the Caribbean Adaptation to Climate Change Programme…but we now need to get more detailed in terms of hazards for a category one hurricane right up to a category five, and we would have flood lines for that. We also have to look at the potential for sea level rise and the different scenarios to know the potential number of coasts that would be lost and the potential economic and socio-economic damage that can occur as a result," he maintained.

In an effort to achieve these objectives, the Director said his department would be working intimately with the Town and Country Planning Development Office, Lands and Surveys Department, Department of Emergency Management and the Drainage Division and other departments within the Ministry of the Environment, as well as a couple of other external agencies, including the Caribbean Institute for Meteorology and Hydrology.?? This will be done to determine how best to handle the data.

??"Once we have done the mapping and we come out with the different flood maps, we have to integrate them into the integrated coastal zone management plan. This is to ensure that the plan will be up-to-date in terms of information relating to planning policy on the coastline, and how the public will be able to access the information and use it for their own safety and development," Dr. Brewster concluded.??????

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