CARIBSAN project


Coordinator :

UR REVERSAAL: Pascal Molle -

Financing: :

Interreg Caraïbes 66 %, AFD – 20 %, OdE Martinique  - 8%, Ode Guadeloupe – 3 %

Active Period:

2021 – 2022

Staff involved in the unit :

Pascal Molle, Nicolas Forquet, Zoé Legeai

Infos : -


The majority of the Caribbean population lives near the coastline, adjacent to sensitive ecosystems, where sanitation infrastructure often proves to be inadequate. As of 2020, across the Caribbean, millions were still living without access to sanitation services, with discharges undergoing no treatment whatsoever. Moreover, this zone is subjected to major natural constraints. Tropical storms are indeed frequent, while installations are not always resistant to such phenomena, thus leading to massive untreated wastewater discharges entering the natural environment.
The low income levels of some segments of the population tend to make any regulatory apparatus financially infeasible. Conventional treatments and facilities in place across this zone are not always capable of addressing the problems at hand, especially at a time when extreme climate change-related events are observed to be intensifying. All these factors give rise to a major source of pollution and risks to human health, ecosystem preservation and both terrestrial and marine resources.
The CARIBSAN project is intended to promote wastewater treatment by means of treatment wetland across the Caribbean region. In the French West Indies (Guadeloupe and Martinique), such filters have already demonstrated their efficiency over the past several years. This nature-based solution offers the advantage of being simpler and less expensive to implement and manage than other purification systems. Moreover, this solution displays greater resilience when faced with the natural hazards of tropical regions (specifically hurricanes). As regards this emphasis, the CARIBSAN project is geographically concentrated in the countries of Cuba, Saint Lucia and the Dominica.


This project seeks to promote the development of such technology at the Caribbean regional scale on a series of new pilot territories (the Dominican Republic, Saint Lucia and Cuba) by relying in particular on the Martinique experience.

Project organisation

Objective 1: Deployment of the treatment wetland technology

  • Locating the upstream implementation and study sites by means of developing a multicriteria analysis that can be replicated across the various nations
  • Identifying local plant species adapted to this environmental sector
  • Performing the preliminary design of a demonstration unit for subsequent production during the project’s second phase (post-2022).

Objective 2: Instruction and knowledge transfer

  • Identifying the key actors operating in the sanitation sector, analyzing their training needs with respect to this filtering technique, inventorying the existing training modules in connection with this topic
  • Drawing up a priority training plan
  • Organizing training sessions intended for technical staff.

Objective 3: Applications and dissemination of results

Anticipated benefits

  • Production of demonstrator units for use across new countries and settings
  • Development of a decision-making assistance methodology for choosing the site adapted treatment wetland, with this methodology being implemented in a single setting, as preparation for integration into a more comprehensive decision-making tool in determining appropriate urban water management scenarios.

Modification date : 21 May 2023 | Publication date : 12 October 2022 | Redactor : Rémi CLEMENT