Currently, water quality monitoring in Belize is being conducted in a fragmented manner as opposed to a more integrated, planned approach. As a result, there are overlaps in monitoring efforts, exhaustion of already limited resources, and the inability to sustain long term programs. Most importantly, however, is that there are no existing national standards for conducting water quality monitoring in Belize. Therefore, the national wealth of information being collected has no comprehensively agreed upon protocols or standards to ensure data confidence. Thus, to create a national baseline and subsequent data sets, an overarching set of standards must be created to guide water quality monitoring to ensure that data collected was done using sound standardized methodology.
The National Integrated Water Resources Management Authority (NIWRA) who, under the National Integrated Water Resources Act No 19 of 2010, is responsible to “provide for the management, controlled allocation and the sustainable use and protection of the water resources of Belize” legislation enshrines a more coordinated and collaborative process to the overall management of water resources inclusive of water quality. Consequently, in order to move towards a more integrated approach to Water Quality Monitoring, a national stakeholder workshop on water quality monitoring will be held in collaboration with the Japan Caribbean Climate Change Partnership Project implementing partners and other Government agencies to bring together key players from the private and public sectors to address the development of a national water quality monitoring strategy document.
It is important to note that there are several national level projects such as the Marine Conservation and Climate Adaptation Project and the Key Biodiversity Areas Project which also are providing financial support to strengthen and improve water quality monitoring in Belize. As a result, the proceedings of the workshop will be integrated into the ongoing initiatives in order to support the development a more comprehensive water quality monitoring programme in Belize.