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World Water Day 2023: CARIBSAN, accelerating the transition to nature-based solutions to improve wastewater treatment in the Caribbean

The CARIBSAN project was officially launched in September 2021. More than a year later, World Water Day is an opportunity to look back at how far we have come.

CARIBSAN was conceived as a nature-inspired solution to effectively treat wastewater. By promoting treatment wetlands, CARIBSAN offers a more economical and nature-friendly alternative to conventional wastewater treatment plants. Treatment wetlands have already proven their efficiency in Martinique and Guadeloupe and are being developed in the CARIBSAN partner countries: Cuba, Dominica and Saint Lucia. The three countries aim to improve the treatment of wastewater discharged into their rivers and the sea.

The 8th CARIBSAN Steering Committee held on Thursday 16 March was an opportunity for all partners to present the progress made. Each of the three countries has identified a site for its future treatment wetland plant, and preliminary studies have been launched on the sites: Black Bay Vieux-Fort in Saint Lucia, La Plaine and Cotton Hills in Dominica, and Pogolotti in Cuba. The specific results for each site will allow the treatment wetland plant to be scaled according to the local context.

CUBA

In Cuba, the partners of the National Institute of Hydraulic Resources have conducted studies to characterise the wastewater. The studies will help determine the organic load that has to be treated by the future trreatment wetland plant. The partners are also in the process of identifying the indigenous plants best suited to Cuba's specific climate and ecosystem.

DOMINICA

In Dominica, partners from the Dominica Water and Sewerage Company (DOWASCO) will start conducting wastewater analyses from 27 March. Over several weeks, samples will be taken and analysed to determine the level of organic pollution to be treated.

SAINT LUCIA

In Saint Lucia, the partners of the Water and Sewerage Company (WASCO) have cleaned up the Black Bay Vieux-Fort site, and conducted topographical and geographical studies.

In just over a year, the Cuban, Dominican and Saint Lucian partners have taken the first steps to develop the treatment wetland technology in their countries. More than 200 sanitation professionals have been trained in this technology by the CARIBSAN project.

While much has been achieved in one year, the cooperation is still in its infancy, so further training on treatment wetlands will be organised in Martinique in April (for French speakers) and in May (for Spanish speakers). The CARIBSAN conference bringing together all the partners will take place in June 2023.

A video showing the progress made during the first year of implementation of CARIBSAN is available on the project's YouTube channel.


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The CARIBSAN project is co-financed by the INTERREG Caribbean program under the European Regional Development Fund, by the French Development Agency and the Martinique and Guadeloupe Water Offices.

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