What costs more: water or oil? The answer is well known. Which has more value? The answer becomes… well… not so clear.

An objective look at the relative use of water and oil, however, should establish beyond a shadow of doubt that water has by far the greater value. Not only is it required for the very existence of life, but, even more than that, it is required and necessary in many basic areas of production, sanitation, an ingredient of many key materials and products (both modern and traditional) etc, etc.

So why is water so cheap? Very simply, because it was in the past perceived to be generally and "freely" available. Most countries, most communities, usually had it within walking (or riding or driving) distance. But not so these days! All over the world, inadequate supply of water is becoming a serious problem, as regularly cautioned by various U.N. agencies. As far as way as Africa and India and as nearby as Antigua, Barbados, St. Maarten, Trinidad and others, water for growing populations remains a nagging issue.

Dominica, however, has water (from its '365' rivers) in abundance. It is a key resource! It is not impossible that with the right management of this asset, water for Dominica could become what oil is for Saudi Arabia.

To achieve this, however, a government-led innovative, dynamic, and well planned strategy is required. And It must not be only a government 'planning' effort. Neither must it be a feasibility study done by the usual gang of 'foreign experts'. The interests of overseas countries are not necessarily our own, and in this particular project, it most definitely is not, except perhaps for some of the technical and funding components. And it cannot be left for the private-sector which has failed to go beyond anything but small-scale bottling plants.

What is envisaged is both a long and short-term strategy. In the short term, it is not impossible that a country like Trinidad with acute water problems may be interested in paying a reasonable price for a GUARANTEED regular supply of bulk water from Dominica. It would not only help Trinidad's citizens out of an increasingly intolerable situation, but new Prime Minister Rowley could proudly justify this vision of a "new CARICOM approach" (Trinidad-Dominica) to a long-standing problem which NOW could ALSO assists a small LDC Caribbean partner in its development – instead of Trinidad setting up yet another fowl-tasting salt water desalination plant, for example). How's that for REBUIDING DOMINICA BETTER? Maybe we can ask Trinidad Gov't Rep Brian Lara to revisit to talk serious joint development!

On the long term side, there is even greater opportunity, but that's for Part II.