The new wise water initiative demonstrates rainwater harvesting from roofs, garden irrigation and use of native and other medicinal plants adapted to local conditions at the TCI National Museum’s historically accurate recreation of a typical 1800s Caicos family dwelling. It was opened today on the island of Providenciales today, Thursday, 12 June 2014.
The project aims to help the TCI decrease dependence on water that is reduced by expensive and environmentally costly diesel-powered desalination and promote awareness of the environment.
Interpretive signage explains the natural water systems in TCI, how the wise water use garden works, and everyone can help conserve water. The project is linked to the ‘Wonderful Water’ curriculum and course developed by UK Overseas Territories Conservation Forum (UKOTCF) with the TCI Education Department already in use in the Islands’ schools.
Visitors to the site will be able to find out about the use of the ‘three-sisters’ crop systems used by both the original Taino Indian inhabitants and again in the post-plantation era. This was centred on beans to capture nitrogen so avoiding the need for artificial fertilizers, corn which also provided support for the beans, and sweet potato or pumpkin, also to provide ground cover minimising water-loss.
The water wise garden is a joint initiative by RBC Royal Bank, Turks & Caicos National Museum, and UK Overseas Territories Conservation Forum (UKOTCF).
Officially opening the garden Governor Peter Beckingham said:
This illustrates the fascinating gardening practices which were traditional in the Caicos Islands for hundreds of years. Given how relevant these still are today, I welcome this collaboration between a local non-profit, its UK-based non-profit partner, and an international commercial organisation.
Mrs Sanfra Foster, RBC Royal Bank Turks and Caicos Branch Manager, said:
RBC has a longstanding commitment to environmental sustainability and has chosen to focus on the conservation of the world’s most precious natural resource - water. We believe that access to water will be one of the most significant environmental and economic issues facing the world in the coming decades.
Patricia Saxton, Director of the Turks & Caicos National Museum Foundation expressed her appreciation to RBC and the project partners:
The Turks and Caicos National Museum is focused on historical and environmental conservation. In our Grand Turk branch, the Museum, the Botanical Garden and the Science Building rely only on rainwater harvesting and air conditioning run-off to power the operation.
Dr Mike Pienkowski, Honorary Executive Director of the UK Overseas Territories Conservation Forum said:
The Wise Water Use for Gardens Project will raise awareness of water-supply issues, encourage water-saving measures, and demonstrate the use of rainwater-harvesting for food-crops and of native plants in landscaping as significant measures to save water.