In 2004 ISARM-Americas identified two transboundary aquifers in the “Inventory of Transboundary Aquifers of the Americas,” which was completed by UNESCO in cooperation with the Organization of American States (OAS). These two aquifiers were the Artibonito and the Massacre shared by the Republic of Haiti and the Dominican Republic, both of which were recognized as priority case-studies for project implementation. To this end, the two countries established the goal of “sustainably managing the aquifers in the intermountain and coastal regions of Hispaniola with a view to reducing land degradation, excess erosion-sedimentation, and poverty.”
A Project Development Facility, Block A (PDF-A) request for the preparation of this Medium Sized Project (MSP) was subsequently submitted to the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and approved in September 2005. The preparatory work was executed by the OAS with the support of UNESCO-IHP, and implemented by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). A key outcome of this effort was the recommendation for the development and execution of a framework within which the two island states could manage the water resources of these priority waters in such a manner as to achieve increased and sustained environmental and economic benefits for the people of both countries. In particular, the need for such a framework was assessed as critical in light of the likely changes in availability of surface waters as a result of drying trends in the region that are forecasted to occur as a result of global climatic change. Consequently, the identification and possible exploitation of alternative sources of water, to minimize risks of over-exploitation of current water sources, was identified as a priority action with implications for adaptation to climate change in water stressed regions.
The objective of the project is to develop and implement a strategic framework and program of actions to maintain, protect, and utilize the shared transboundary groundwater reserves of the island of Hispaniola. This will be done for the benefit of the people of the island, by integrating ecological management and economic development activities, based upon the comprehensive groundwater studies to be undertaken within the context of this proposed MSP. Specifically, the MSP will address three major elements of the use and management of groundwaters within the Macasia-Guayamoc Aquifer in the Artibonito River Basin and the Massacre Aquifer in the Massacre River Basin, the most important being the reduction of poverty and improvement of water security.