Mark Barnett, President of the CWWA.

“Securing the Caribbean’s Future: Financing the Water and Waste Sectors” will be the topic when St. Kitts and Nevis hosts the 2019 Caribbean Water and Wastewater Association (CWWA) Conference and Exhibition Oct. 14-17at the St. Kitts Marriott Resort and Royal Beach Casino.

Mark Barnett, President of the CWWA, said at a press conference to publicize the event that financing the water and waste sectors is one of the greatest challenges in ensuring sustainability, reliability and flexibility with the water supply system.

“It is how we ensure that we have a sustainable financing mechanism,” he said. “Gone are the days when it would be the regular approach in providing this service, but very innovative approaches have to be developed to ensure that very small and economically challenged states can sustain their population and ensure that there is comfort in the standard of living.”

The president said that throughout the conference there will be approximately 50 technical papers presented and over 60 exhibitors present.

Some of the topics will include Financing and Partnership — The Way Forward; Governance and Leadership for the Future; Prospects for Future Waste Management and the Circular Economy; Water Resource Management Beyond 2020; Leaving no one Behind; Using Water and Waste Sector to secure Caribbean People; Beyond Climate Adaptation Resilience for The Next Generation; and the Relationship between Water Waste and Other Sectors.

High-level forums on water will be held on Oct. 14 and 15. On day two, under the auspices and support of UNESCO, a declaration will be signed by each minister for water to declare to the people of the Caribbean “are serious about securing their water future for years to come,” Barnett said..

Discussions on waste and sanitation management will continue Oct. 16 and 17. There will also be a forum on sanitation, which started approximately three years ago. The CWWA president noted that this will be the fourth year and it is expected to be extended.

“Waste is a perennial problem for our region,” he said. “We use a lot of plastic, we have a lot of cruise ships that pass through our waters, we have an increased penetration of electronic communication devices and we have other consumable products that we are not necessarily paying much attention to the effects when we are finished using them. So you want to start that conversation and broaden that conversation and make it become a thing on everyone’s lips within the region that we must take care of the waste that is generated.”

Barnett stated that for the ministerial summit there will be a focus on the water security and sustainability, importance of groundwater resources for Small Island Developing States and conjunctive surface and groundwater management as a means of achieving water security.

“We want to ensure that at the end of those two days there is a firm commitment from our ministers that we are serious and demonstrate to our people that we are caring about water and we want to ensure that their future is secure in going forward,” he said.