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Basseterre, St. Kitts, February 18, 2019 (SKNIS): The Department of Environment convened the commissioning of two pieces of equipment, hydromet station and a Coral Reef Early Warning System (CREWS) in January 2019 with the aim of collecting data which will in turn be used to generate information for decision making.

Cheryl Jeffers, Conservation Officer within the Department of Environment, said that this puts St. Kitts and Nevis one step closer to solving its data collection challenges.

“Access to reliable data will facilitate good decision making. The installation of these equipment will complement existing stations that were already installed around the Island of St. Kitts,” said the conservation officer.

Minister with responsibility for Environment, the Honourable Eugene Hamilton, spoke briefly on the pieces of equipment and noted that they will prove beneficial to St. Kitts and Nevis and the region on a whole.

“There is an increasing demand for hydro-meteorological data by a diverse group of users and sectors in the region for hydro-meteorological data such as wind speed and direction, air temperature, relative humidity, barometric pressure, precipitation, solar radiation, and water levels (both historical and current). These are essential drivers of the regional climate models used to project future climate in the region.

He added that the data generated directly affects the agriculture and aquaculture, water resources, coastal zone management, health and tourism sectors.

“For example, farmers are provided with periodic precipitation forecasts which they use to select crops and plan their planting cycles. Fishermen, tourism businesses and water resources managers also use hydro-meteorological data to support the decision-making component of their enterprises,” he said. This is something that many crop farmers all over the world are having to put in place to protect their yield. Some are using advanced weather management systems like solar monitoring to keep track of different weather developments that could negatively impact their crops.

Minister Hamilton added that as humans, “we need to continue identifying and implementing adaptation measures in a collective manner and ensure that we make use of the most effective tools and methods that will help us to integrate climate change considerations into our planning and investment processes”.

The pieces of equipment form part of a regional project being implemented in the Eastern and Southern Caribbean States by the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC) with funding from the United States Agency for International Development/Eastern and Southern Caribbean (USAID/ESC). The project runs for a period of four years (July 2016 to September 2020) and is the brainchild of USAID Climate Change Adaptation Program (USAID CCAP).

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