The Water Views and Information Network (WAVINGS) Workshop continued on October 24, 2013. At the second day of the event, participants identified five (5) ways to improve water availability in the presence of threats from climate change and lack of know-how. These are:
- Focus on a diversity of water resources (surface, ground, and rain water)
- Mapping of aquifers to inform where to use drilling rigs in order to reduce costs
- Share methodologies for drilling and rigging. Increase the know how to improve treatment and sanitation
- Increase knowledge of techniques for the recharge of aquifers. For the Guiana Shield, the basins are highly variable and that presents an important challenge. Artificial recharge of aquifers has to be considered among the options
- Increase education and sensitization on green water harvesting
The day’s agenda included presentations from French water scientists who shared knowledge on two key tools for knowledge and monitoring of water. These tools were listed as:
- ORE-HYBAM for research and environment: www.ore-hybam.org
- WHYCOS for environment and development: www.whycos.org
The Environmental Research Observatory (ORE) HYBAM (Geodynamical, hydrological and biogeochemical control of erosion/alteration and material) transport in the Amazon basin has been in operation since 2003, and ends in 2013. The GSF is finalizing negotiations on a project with the Federal University of Amazonas (UFAM) to digitally map the hydro-geomorphology of the Guiana Shield using technologies developed under ORE-HYBAM. Participants from the Guiana Shield countries are keenly interested to participate in the proposed project.
WHYCOS is the World Hydrological Cycle Observing System and a WMO programme. It is used to reinforce the capacities of nations that share water basins. Although, there is no single basin shared by the Guiana Shield countries, that does not mean that there cannot be a HYCOS for the Guiana Shield. There is a Caribbean HYCOS, which creates a precedent for a Guiana Shield HYCOS. This idea will be promoted to the WHYCOS Phase III meeting to be held in Quito in February 2014.
Moreover, participants from the Guiana Shield countries called for the set-up of an ecoregional information system on freshwater. However, according to the lessons learned by ONEMA (French National Agency for Water and Aquatic Environments), avoid extremely ambitious projects because finding adequate finances could lead to long delays.
In addition, there is usually a risk with the availability of data for the general public and other key stakeholders. An important lesson is that tools for international cooperation on freshwater cannot be obtained overnight.