The Hydrometeorological Service (Hydromet) and the Environmental Management Consultants (EMC) have commenced a meteorology and water quality baseline monitoring programme for the Lower Essequibo Watershed.
As part of this programme, Hydromet has installed a Vaisala Automatic Weather Station at the Saxacalli Rainforest Centre to provide real-time weather and environmental monitoring.
Also, considering the impacts of the extractive industries, agriculture and fishing on the lower Essequibo River watershed, a water quality baseline programme for this area will commence from January 2021 with monthly data collection through a commitment by EMC of personnel, equipment, and facilities.
The data garnered from the programme will help Hydromet build a robust data set of meteorological and water quality parameters which could support analyses of the state of the environment in this important watershed and help guide integrated resource management for the area.
Prior to this investment, there was no automatic weather station on the Lower Essequibo.
The installation of the Vaisala Automatic Weather Station will allow the collection of 10 meteorological parameters including rainfall, wind speed and direction, solar radiation, air temperature and relative humidity as well as atmospheric pressure. This data will be recorded at 15-minute intervals and uploaded via satellite link.
These initiatives have been executed as part of a framework of cooperation established through a Memorandum of Understanding MoU between Hydromet and EMC. The MoU builds on existing efforts of cooperation on data and information collection which have focused on the Saxacalli area and are intended to encompass the lower Essequibo River watershed. One of the principal objectives of the MoU is to support freshwater resource governance and management and which will include joint efforts at hydrological and meteorological data collection, management and analysis, capacity building and training, and education and awareness.
According to Agriculture Minister Zulfikar Mustapha, “This public-private partnership initiative allows the pooling of resources to collect and analyse critical information which will help in the management of this important watershed as well as provide valuable information for development initiatives. I wish to commend Hydromet and EMC for taking this step and to encourage that such initiatives be widened to cover other watersheds and freshwater and marine ecosystems.”