The Ministry of Natural Resources has benefited from a RESEMBID grant valued approximately $965,000 that will aim to improve the water quality being provided in the territory.

The announcement was made by the Minister for Natural Resources Honourable Melvin Turnbull who confirmed that the grant came from the European Union and their partners Expertise France through the Overseas Countries and Territories’ Resilience, Sustainable Energy, and Marine Biodiversity Programme (RESEMBID).

He said, “I am sure that all of us present here, as well as the community at large can appreciate when I say that we’ve experienced noticeable damage in recent times to our marine ecosystems, particularly to some reefs and coastlines. The RESEMBID project titled Strengthening the Virgin Islands’ Water Quality Programme to Inform Effective Environmental Management and Spatial Planning, could not have come at a more opportune time.  It builds on the water quality programme undertaken by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Labour’s Environment and Climate Change Unit.”

Minister Turnbull also provided some insight on how the project will seek to rectify a number of the existing issues that have been contributing to the water quality that is present in the territory today.

“The project strives to address the constraints that exist within the current Water Quality Programme through: The redesign of a comprehensive, water quality monitoring programme; Capacity building of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Labour’s staff and its implementing partners, which include the H Lavity Stoutt Community College, the National Parks Trust and the Department of Information Technology; Procurement of a vessel to support the work of the Environment Unit and much needed water-quality testing and IT equipment, including hardware and software to support expanded monitoring and enhanced data warehousing and analysis; and establishment of water quality baselines for areas and water-quality parameters of concern, that are not currently covered by the existing programme,” he explained.

Turnbull also highlighted some of the many benefits that will derive from the project.

“The products of this project will therefore benefit environmental managers, portable water managers, decision makers within the Government of the Virgin Islands, fisheries managers, tourism managers, the yachting industry and fisher folks. The project will create a strong scientific evidence base that will further support enhanced environmental legislation, marine spatial planning and decision-making that will contribute to the increased resilience of our coastal and marine waters and biodiversity,” the minister stated.