17 October 2023
World Food Day is observed annually on 16 October to highlight the need for regular access to nutritious food and the impacts on the millions of people worldwide who cannot afford a healthy diet. The theme for 2023 is ‘Water is life, water is food. Leave no one behind’.
‘Water is life, water is food. Leave no one behind’
The provision of water on St Helena is intimately linked to the distribution of habitats and in particular the cloud forest area. Previous projects under the Darwin Plus programme demonstrated that native habitats function more effectively as water catchments than those with high proportions of invasive plants.
SHG has taken a number of steps to facilitate improved agricultural practices in order to improve the Island’s food and water security. One recent example of this is the Darwin Plus funded St Helena Climate Change and Drought Warning Network project. From this we now have more robust climate and water resource information, which is important in allowing authorities and businesses to make evidence based decisions around the impacts of drought and climate change.
The ongoing St Helena Cloud Forest Project also ran alongside the St Helena Climate Change and Drought Warning Network project. Doing so has enabled the Darwin Plus team to expand the water resource and climate monitoring networks, providing additional funding to support the procurement of essential equipment.
The Cloud Forest Project has already achieved its intended outcome to develop and operate a climate and water resource data collection network around the Island. It has also improved the quality and accuracy of weather forecasts. In addition to this, a Water Resource Management Plan is currently being developed by SHG and Connect Saint Helena (Connect), with the support of FCDO. This will set out a long-term plan for the water sector on St Helena, ensuring we are well placed to meet future needs.
What can you do to help?
Conserving water and preserving our natural habitats is an Island-wide endeavour. According to data collected by Connect, consumption figures show that when it rains the public uses less water, meaning they are using harvested water for activities which they would otherwise use mains water for. This is often through the use of harvested (collection of roof water) water for watering gardens and washing cars.
Some of the producers and farmers are already making use of more water efficient methods. This has so far included things such as drip irrigation and mulching in their agricultural practice.
Fixing leaks promptly also assists in water conservation. Connect thank the public for promptly reporting any leaks they come across and encourage the public to continue doing so.
17 October 2023