Dominica exceeds international standards for drinking water – minister

Minister Austrie. Photo credit:

Government Minister Reginald Austrie, whose ministry is responsible for water resource management, has reported that local residents have water of the highest quality at their disposal, as World Water Day was observed on Monday.

He made the statement in an address to the nation on the occasion of World Water Day, under the theme: “Clean Water for a Healthy World”.

“We are satisfied that we are well within and often exceed the standards for drinking water, set by the World Health Organisation,” he disclosed.

But Dominicans must not become complacent, Austrie cautioned. He has appealed to citizens to take on practices that will ensure the high quality of water is maintained in Dominica.

“Our water quality on the island is primarily affected by human activities … Maintaining this high quality, therefore depends on the commitment of the government, communities and individuals alike. The government of Dominica has committed to ensuring, that both drinking water and fresh water resources are protected from pollution,” he said.

Austrie added that laws like the Water and Sewerage Act of 1989, and the Litter Act, are assisting in the proper management of water resources in Dominica.

World Water Day focuses on the sustainable management of fresh water resources.

– DNO Correspondent

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  1. GHM
    March 27, 2010

    well i assume st. Lucians wil not be needing our water any more. Dominicans need to keep silent. Too much negative comments.

  2. Piper
    March 26, 2010

    How could that be when after heavy rains the water is as muddy as heck outside the Roseau system. If that surpasses international standards, then they must be very low. as far as I know the only treatment the water gets is chlorine. Sometimes you would think you are drinking chlorox. I would not pat myself on the back for that.

  3. neg bawi
    March 23, 2010

    i will admit, dominica has the best tasting water hands down, but left to wonder do we do everything in our power to ensure future generations that priviledge.on my last visit to dominica i saw a road was cut upwards towards one of the morne trois pitons peaks for housing,i mean oh ghash, thats our water basin that they are tampering with..why are persons even allowed to build in these areas?…we should seriously revisit our wildlife/forest protections acts

    • Salisbury passe
      March 24, 2010

      Are we also talking about the Salisbury area? Was the water system there tested?

      I have always had concerns about the water intake in Salibury. There are so many farmers around the intake– using all kind of chemicals.

      The rate of cancer in Salisbury alone is so high. We need answers.

  4. Mahaut People
    March 23, 2010

    Mr Minister can you or Dowasco present scientific facts to back that up? How often are tests conducted? what are we testing for and is / are the people conducting the tests qualified to perform the tests? Are all sites tested regularly? Need some answers………….

  5. Out of South City
    March 23, 2010

    All that I want to say is that with development comes a great big price and that is the health and welfare of the people. How dare we say we have the best water when there is pollution in the soil and in the air? We are becomining just as these so-called developed countries. When there is deforestation, that causes erosion and that means that there are less roots to keep the water in the ground. Trees take in water through their roots. Without roots water runs along the surface of the ground, which in turn causes landslides. One does not need to be a rocket scientist to figure that out.

    The more we cut down the trees to build, the more health pproblems there will be. Trees breathe in carbon dioxide and breathe out oxygen, which is the gas we humans need a healthy circulatory system. We need clean air to have good lungs. We already have a problem of having too many vehicles in Dominica. The island is not big enough for all these vehicles which transmit all that carbon monoxide in the atmosphere. Breathing this air causes lung problems such as asthma, bronchitis( inflammation of the bronchioles) etc., Too many chemicals in the air is a result of people having allergy problems as well.

    We need to be careful what we ask for, for as I mentioned earlier, with development comes a price.
    Let us not be deceived by all those who want to invest in Dominica in the name of development. What is involved and who will really profit financially in the long run?

  6. Cesare Bonventre
    March 23, 2010

    Dominica’s natural resources are her best asset

    The people of Dominica are the humble care-takers of these vital resources

    At this time when most the Caribbean is short of water, the people of Dominica need to continue teaching her children that the earth is our mother. What befalls the earth befalls all the sons of the earth.

    This we know: the earth does not belong to man, man belongs to the earth. All things are connected like the blood that unites us all. Man did not weave the web of life, he is merely a strand in it. Whatever he does to the web, he does to himself.

    I was direct witness to the destruction of the pristine lakes of the Texas Hill Country – All lost due to the run off of fertilizer used to promote lawns & golf courses. The fertilizer run-off of luxury constructions changed the pH of the water & promoted the growth of algae, etc. Soon, no one could see a foot through the water – An utter & complete destruction of all her waters took a mere two years! Never again will Texas have beautiful waters.

    The Dominica people love this earth as a newborn loves its mother’s heartbeat. So, if they move forward to develop the land, those who build upon her must love it as the people of Dominica have loved it. Builders must care for it as the people of Dominica have cared for it. The builders of Dominica must hold in their minds the memory of the land as it is when they receive it: Preserve the land for all children and love it, as God loves us all.

    As we are part of the land, you too are part of the land. This earth is precious to us. It is also precious to you. One thing we know: There is only one God. No man, be he Black, White or Yellow, can be apart. We ‘are’ brothers after all”

  7. Vieille Case Itassian
    March 23, 2010

    While we may be priding ourselves as having water that is of the highest quality, it is still not water of the best quality and there are still many health and safety issues facing our water supplies.

    There are two components of our water that must be taken into consideration; the quantity and the quality. In Dominica both of these characteristics are under threat but we tend to focus only on bacterial quality and rarely do we give attention to chemical and physical qualities of our water. The rate of deforestation and removal of protective vegetation has severely impacted the quantity of water in Dominica for a number of reasons. Many of our rivers have been reduced to just trickles because our soils no longer retain the moisture as they did when there were undisturbed forests. Rather than percolating into the soil, rain water runs off along the surface rather then entering natural underground aquifers.

    Quality is even a greater problem. Many of the water-catchments areas are not protected from human and animal activities so our water systems can become easily contaminated by human and animal faecal matter. Many of our water reservoirs are located well below agricultural activities and other human activities. Recall that Dublanc water supply is located below the Syndicate Fall where many tourists cross to get there. They even bathe in the falls and residents of Dublanc are left with no choice but to drink that water. That scenario is similar for most of the water systems in Dominica. Runoff from agricultural holdings drains all kinds of weedicides, pesticides and fertilizers into our water supplies.

    The method of treatment of our waters is only primitive and just involves impounding the water and chlorinating it. No where do we have the extended treatment of our waters through flocculation, sedimentation and filtration. If those parasites such as Cryptosporidium or Giardia which form spores (cysts) should ever find themselves in our water supplies we would all be in deep trouble because chlorine does not destroy the cysts; only filtration does…

    Further more, the quality of our recreational freshwater leaves much to be desired. Fertilizers, pesticides, oils, garbage and domestic sewage find themselves in our recreational waters. Who knows what else we are exposed to in our water? The Water and Sewage Act and Litter Act have done if at all, little to improve the management of water resources in Dominica. When last did you hear of a prosecution under the Litter Act? Yet see the amount of illegal dumping taking place all over for example along the Canefield Imperial Road to Pond Cassee’ where the water supply of the city of Roseau and most of the West and South West coast villages originates.

    In order to safeguard the quantity and quality of our water resources, protection of our water supplies must be linked to environmental protection and land use policies. That will mean upgrading our water systems and our laboratories, and increasing the monitoring and enforcement capacities for environmental protection and pollution laws.

    • Vieille Case, I hope that Reginald Austrie will take some time to read your comments, and ponder on it for a moment, because all you said is absolutely true.

      Nonetheless, as pompous as we are in Dominica, with swollen heads because of the position we hold, information such as you have disseminated may go unnoticed to him. On the other hand perhaps he will read your comments and the concepts of it all may evade him!

      Remember to some of our people titles, such as minister is more important than the duty’s they are paid to perform.

      He may even dismissed your comments as nonsense, knowing that such comments came out of the mind of a fellow Dominica born.

      Now, I suspect if you were a foreign white boy, or girl, your comments would be considered for a Dominica academy award; you know, the kind they give out in Hollywood, for a good performance on a movie set.

      Anyway I personally appreciate your comments, I hope that Reginald can find some value, or merit in your contribution!

      Francisco Etienne-Dods Telemaque

    • Jayson
      March 23, 2010

      I never looked on it like that before. Thanks for the post.

  8. Kidding
    March 23, 2010

    My problem with our drinking water is the age of our pipes. When was the last time we changed those old pipes. I guess by now the amount of muck that must have accumulated. We need to check on that.

  9. environmentalist
    March 23, 2010

    The usual empty speeches. Wouldn’t the building and operation of an oil-refinery in the 289 sq. miles Nature Isle of Dominica do considerable damage, pollute our water resource, catchment areas, rivers, streams? Many Dominicans still believe that such a project is OK. The statements of the minister is not in sync.

    No serious discussions or action plans on water conservation and protection. No land use policy, with anything and everything being placed any and everywhere. Planning Division? Planning what?
    Even when communities express concerns about issues affecting their lives and their environment , they receive a slap in the face. Too often genuine statements are expressed with regards to showing greater love for our pristine environment and natural resources, but is like bouncing into a brick wall. Action speaks louder than words.

    • I would like to ask this minister to detail his statistics, perhaps we would like to know how many times per week, or month he analyzes the water sources, what form of testing he used to arrive at his conclusion.

      Has he taken into consideration that fertilizer, and pesticides run off from the agricultural plantations still flows into the rivers, and streams, and into our artesian Wells, the main source of our water.

      Does he know what the term Artesian Wells mean?

      Does he know that the Melville River, is forever contaminated with volcanic sulfa, and can he state why, there is a river in Castle Bruce Territory, where the water so often changes its color, even when it is not overflowing!

      Can he give an account as to why the last time I visited Dominica, and went for a bath at a place called Dam at the Londonderry River, where I also drank some water, and by which time I was out of there my entire body was covered with bumps and rashes?

      I may agree that that some of our waters may be cleaner than elsewhere, however, boosting, and mere exaggerations will neither prove anything nor get us past where we are.

  10. LCM
    March 22, 2010

    I would love to see facts and statistics and also what is being done to ensure that the water is continuously within or above standards. Having laws does not mean they are enforced.

    They may be doing right but i am not convinced.

  11. March 22, 2010

    Well great, we have the best in terms of drinking water, watch for market now for our oil!

    Contrary to that, it is misery to get water in our pipes. We have to suffer too long to get water

    sometimes and all of the times.

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