Title of Project: Assessing the vulnerability of water resources for better adaptation in Martinique
City, Country: Martinique, France
French partner submitting the project description: The French geological survey (BRGM)
Project Owner: Regional Department of the Environment, Development and Housing (DEAL) for Martinique
Project Leader: The French geological survey (BRGM)
Financiers/ Donors :
Dates of project: 2011-2013
A few words on the project…
Faced with new challenges upon its water resources, Martinique (an overseas french department in the Caribbean) must adapt. In order to do so, it is necessary to better understand how the resource may change...
Social housing policies, sustainable development, biodiversity and risk prevention commitments taken at the Grenelle Environmental Forum, come under the authority of Regional Departments of the Environment, Development and Housing (DEAL).
The Caribbean region is already deeply affected by climate change. Impacts include rising temperatures, a rise in sea level resulting in saline seepage, risks to infrastructure and tourism and extreme climate variability. Caribbean islands, including Martinique, have already begun to develop adaptation skills to cope with the various challenges as they emerge, particularly those related to water resources. In Martinique, 90% of drinking water production comes from rivers. This gives rise to repeated difficulties in low-water periods when the instream flow downstream of water intakes is not respected.
To assess the impact of climate change, modeling was conducted by means of a comprehensive hydrological model, developed by BRGM(the French geological survey) based on Météo France climate projections.
In keeping with the IPCC Fifth Assessment Report of 2014, two climate scenarios were studied for the 2081-2100 period – the RCP 4.5 scenario (average emissions trajectory) and RCP 8.5 (high emissions trajectory). The principal findings were as follows:
- During the dry season, the quantity of available water is expected to reduce significantly.
- During the rainy season, the changes expected vary according to the chosen climate scenario – under scenario RCP 4.5, effective rainfall (share of rainfall remaining after evaporation) increases moderately while for scenario RCP 8.5 the situation remains stable.
- In low-water periods, the northern part of Martinique, where all of the drinking water supply intakes are located, is expected to be especially affected. Some river intakes would no longer be sustainable in the 2081-2100 period. Consequently, it is thought that climate change will lead to growing pressure on quantities of water resources.
- Groundwater, however, is expected to be less severely affected due to the greater replenishment of aquifers during the rainy season. In the future, volumes of potentially exploitable groundwater could even increase in central Martinique.
The results of the study have been used to produce trend projections which public authorities will be able to use to adapt water resource management to climate change.
Strengths of project
The Regional Department of the Environment, Development and Housing of Martinique (DEAL Martinique), in partnership with the BRGM, developed innovative modeling, unprecedented in the Caribbean region, to adapt a specific environment for which the models of Mainland France are not relevant.