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Posted: Tuesday 21 March, 2023 at 12:12 PM

Govt. to invest over $200M on water infrastructure

By: Staff Reporter,

    BASSETERRE, St. Kitts - AS St. Kitts-Nevis prepares to recognize tomorrow (Mar. 22) as World Water Day, attention is being drawn to the challenges facing the nation when it comes to the life-saving commodity.


    Over the past decade, the Federation has been plagued by dwindling water supply and unpredictable rainfall patterns which many are attributing to changing climate conditions due to rising global temperatures.


    Nevis has had it share of water challenges, but it is more prevalent in St. Kitts where water rationing has become the norm, and the people of Cayon have been affected by the lack of any supply in recent times.


    In his address to recognize the Day, the Minister with Responsibility for Water, Konris Maynard, has been championing efforts to combat the challenge facing the people on St. Kitts and he noted that “this must be a time of reckoning for us”.


    Since taking office last year, the Minister has been blunt in his assessment of the water situation on the island, taking to social media to inform the public about the state of affairs.


    “For the past few decades, our local water experts have been sending out the message, but few of us have been taking heed. The message is simple for all of us to understand. We live on a small island of 68 square miles; all of our fresh water comes from the rain that falls on the island. It does not rain every day and sometimes it goes for weeks without raining; but we expect to use water every day. If we do not use the little water we have conservatively, we will run out.


    “Let me pause here to acknowledge and to say thank you to the team at the Water Services Department (including past workers) for their herculean effort and sacrifice in going out every day to ensure that when you open your taps there is water,” Maynard explained in his speech.


    This year’s theme is “Accelerating Change”, and, according to the Minister, Climate Change is real and is a concern for the people in St. Kitts-Nevis. That existential threat was highlighted by experts at the Water Services Department, who have all indicated that “over the past 10 years we have seen about an 18% decrease in the average annual rainfall. This is serious. While we cannot predict the future, we have to be prepared for various scenarios including longer dry periods and shorter, more intense wet seasons”.


    It is against that backdrop that the Government is now working to find a solution to the challenge in finding fresh water due to Climate Change. 


    In taking the responsibility seriously, the Government is now working to find alternative means of general water supply, such as increased drilling and upgrading lines to prevent leakage.


    “The growing threat of Climate Change means that rainfall patterns are changing and that sea levels are rising. Even though climatic changes are slow, they are nonetheless a real and serious threat. Our response to this threat must begin with the necessary investments to allow us to carefully monitor such climatic and environmental parameters.


    “We are going to invest over $200 million over the next five to 10 years to build a resilient and sustainable water infrastructure. Water is too important for us to get it wrong! As I often say, because of our small size, it is easier for us to transform our sectors than other larger countries,” added Maynard.


    But even as the Government seeks to enhance the supply of water to the people and to reveal the challenges of Climate Change on the water sector, there is a need for educating the people on sustainable water practices and the topic of Climate Change.


    During a recently held training programme for media workers and communicators, it was revealed by officials from the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre that many people in the Federation noted during a survey that they have heard about the topic but do not know what it means.


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