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Community Essay: Climate-change mitigation and adaptation in small island developing states: the case of rainwater harvesting in Jamaica

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Author(s): Marilyn Waite

Journal: Sustainability : Science, Practice and Policy
ISSN 1548-7733

Volume: 8;
Issue: 2;
Start page: 81;
Date: 2012;
Original page

Keywords: ater resources | developing countries | islands | appropriate technology | rain water | mitigation | management tools | climatic changes

ABSTRACT
This essay seeks to further the dialogue concerning climate-change impacts for small island developing states (SIDS). Climate-change adaptation and mitigation strategies must be developed to cope with changes such as shifting precipitation patterns, increasing evapotranspiration, and expanding saline intrusion into coastal aquifers and wells. While it is necessary to study all climate-change mitigation measures, this essay uses Jamaica as a case study to examine the utility of rainwater harvesting (RWH) in SIDS. What role can RWH play in providing a sustainable supply of water in a changing climate? Through various water demand and deficit scenarios, questions are answered regarding (1) how much rainwater can be harvested on the island given present and future precipitation patterns and (2) how much can RWH realistically curb water-supply deficits now and in the future. Water resources are directly linked to many other considerations, including infrastructure, energy, agriculture, and the overall economy. Exploring the aforementioned questions can help to facilitate more effective policy decisions for water resources given predictions for rainfall. It is my hope that this analysis spurs a broader reflection on what concrete actions SIDS should take to prepare for the water-resource impacts of climate change.

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