Flood Risk Management is only effective if all stakeholders contribute their resources under a common goal of increasing capacity and reducing vulnerability. Each stakeholder has a part to play but this cannot be done in isolation of another. In addition, stakeholders must ensure that, in effecting their roles, contingencies are put into place so that the service being delivered is engineered to be as flood resistant or resilient as is financially feasible.
We must understand what our responsibilities are as well as the responsibilities of others. UWTT has identified the key stakeholders deemed responsible and outlined their major roles.
We as citizens have a responsibility to ourselves, our loved ones and our community to ensure that we raise our capacity to prepare for, respond to and recover from flood weather events. This can take the form of multiple resistance and resilience measures, reporting to other stakeholders and us being cognizant of the actions we take and their resultant impact with regards to flood risk management.
- Ministry of Planning and Development:
Its specific responsibilities revolve around being a focal point for national data, developing and implementing environmental policy and management, and spatial development. These are important in identifying critical areas at risk and managing development in these areas with the additional responsibility of coordinating stakeholders in this development.
- Ministry of Works and Transport:
Responsible for national planning of routes, drainage and transportation which is critical in being flood resistant/resilient and also crucial in ensuring easy access to critical facilities and emergency shelters. Also responsible for proper construction and maintenance of highways, other roadways, dams, drainage systems, land reclamation and coastal management. Responsible for national planning for roads, drainage and transportation (air, sea and land), construction and maintenance of highways, major and secondary roads, dams and drainage systems; land reclamation; and coastal management in collaboration with stakeholders.
- Ministry of Utilities:
Several stakeholders including Water Resources Agency and Trinidad and Tobago Electricity Commission fall under MoU. WRA is responsible for managing the watershed and in monitoring riverine, groundwater and coastal water levels. Other responsibilities under the MoU include provision of critical services such as potable water, gas and electricity to homeowners and especially to critical facilities such as hospitals.
- Ministry of National Security:
The Office of Disaster Preparedness and Management also has a significant role in flood risk management. This includes identification of critical facilities, preparation plans for the occurrence of a disaster and education of the public as to their roles and responsibilities. The MoNS is also responsible for the coordination of relief efforts including the deployment of the armed services as first responders.
- Ministry of Finance:
Responsible for allocating funding to other stakeholders for flood risk management initiatives. Also responsible for cost/benefit analyses to determine practicality of each project.
- Ministry of Agriculture, Land and Fisheries:
Responsible for the management of watershed areas through forestry and fishery divisions. Offer guidance to farmers on best practices in order to reduce likelihood of flooding; also responsible in integrating food security measures to protect agricultural assets from major flood damage.
- Ministry of Health
Responsible for acting as responders to flood affected physically injured persons and must also be equipped to deal with direct and indirect flood related diseases such as water-borne and vector-borne diseases.
- NGOs/ Civil Society Organizations:
These vary in scope and resources but general responsibility towards education of public, some implementation of structural flood risk management and also in community based strengthening. May also serve a technical advisory role to other stakeholders.
- Tobago House of Assembly/Tobago Emergency Management Agency:
Responsible for general management and emergency managemet within Tobago and has various arms dedicated to specific functions similar to local ministries. Also responsible for financial disbursement for Flood Risk Management interventions.
- Environmental Management Authority
Responsible for granting permits and enforcing proper land use as dictated by the EM Act. Should use technical expertise to ensure that planned construction works do not completely remove natural flood resistance/resilience measures.
- Media Houses:
Responsible for reporting proper and improper flood risk management practices. Investigative journalism can also be useful in ensuring projects stick to their objectives without interference. Also responsible for disseminating information on flood weather events and official flood alerts.
- Private Entities/Businesses:
Can implement flood protection measures for their own structures and also contribute financially to increasing community capacity and reducing vulnerability.
- Ministry of Education:
The MoE’s role is in educating the population at all levels on the nature of flooding and the ways they can increase capacity and reduce vulnerability.
- Ministry of Rural Development:
Like the Ministry of Planning and Development, the Ministry of Rural Development (and its various corporations and disaster management units) have a critical role in collating information and implementing flood risk management measures at a ground (community level). They are responsible for ensuring that some drainage systems are kept cleaned and for advising when further maintenance or new structures may be required.