Friday, March 30, 2012

Spurring Climate Change Adaptation in Seychelles Schools through Rainwater Harvesting

The republic of Seychelles is vulnerable to particular climate change effects and challenges which include sea level rise, increase in sea surface temperatures and changes in rainfall patterns with short periods of heavy rainfall during the rainy season and severe droughts during the dry season being a common occurrence. These effects have adverse impacts on the health and functioning of ecosystems and consequently on the wellbeing of humans as they affect the social and economic systems that are central to human existence.

This problem of water scarcity is further compounded by the ever increasing demand for water occasioned by increased economic and social development as well as population growth. To address this, the country invested heavily in the construction of reservoirs and desalination plants, but this didn’t help but instead skyrocketed the use of fossil fuel which only helped to emit more GhGs. Increased school population and the local educational campaign to green school grounds, resulted in increased demand for water resulting in high water bills.

In an effort to address this and at the same time demonstrate adaptation to climate change in Schools, the UNEP/UNDP CC-DARE project with financial support from the Danish International Development Agency (DANIDA), assisted Seychelles with a timely-targeted rainwater harvesting project.

The objectives were to harvest rain water from school roofs so as to meet the needs of selected schools and to reduce the cost of water bills, educate school children on the impact of climate change on our water resources and on the methods used to adapt to climate change, raise awareness among the general public on climate change impacts on the Seychelles and on rainwater harvesting as a means of adapting to water problems caused by climate change and finally share the water harvesting experiences of the schools with other organizations.

The Environmental Education Unit in collaboration with the Environment Department, the Water Division in Public Utility cooperation, and the Sustainability for Seychelles (S4S), Seychelles Islands Foundation (SIF) and Sea Level Rise Foundation all NGO partners implemented the project helping build the capacities of citizens in the country and the CC-DARE provided the requisite technical backstopping that ensured the projects implementation progressed as per the plan and the project objectives were achieved. The project soon moved from schools to communities. More