By Anicia Antoine, Ministry of Agriculture
CASTRIES, St Lucia – Three automatic flood warning stations have been installed at strategic points in Union, Piaye, and Malgretoute. The newly-procured flood mitigation equipment is part of an initiative of the Pilot Programme for Climate Resilience in partnership with The University of the West Indies and the Caribbean Institute for Metrology and Hydrology. The programme aims to reduce property damage and the disruption to commerce and human activities in the event of a disaster.
Miguel Montoute, Water Resources Specialist at the Water Resource Management Agency (WRMA), said the equipment will help inform future infrastructural developments.
“There are certain low-lying areas in Saint Lucia which flood easily as a result of high-intensity rainfall. Where flash floods are experienced, it can cause some of the structures, for instance bridges, to be vulnerable. The flood mitigation stations will assess the relationship between rainfall and river flows so that we can make informed engineering design decisions. The equipment will also feed into early warning systems in collaboration with the National Emergency Management Organization.”
Montoute explained that in the event of an emergency, the real-time data received from the stations will be relayed to the National Emergency Management Organization (NEMO) to enable faster, more efficient responses.
“When waterways reach their various thresholds, that information will be communicated to NEMO and the determination will be made, based on ground-truthing, as to whether flooding is imminent. The entire mechanism will coordinated by NEMO in collaboration with various community partners.”
The three solar-powered automatic flood warning stations are estimated at a cost of USD$30,000.