Basseterre, St. Kitts, December 16, 2015 (SKNIS): The importance of water security was highlighted during the 2016 Budget address at the Parliamentary Chambers, Government Headquarters on Tuesday, December 15.
Prime Minister, Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris, addressed the issue of potable water.
“This year the challenge of access to clean potable water became more apparent to residents in the Federation, particularly those living in St. Kitts,” he said. “We have been experiencing the effects of a prolonged drought that has resulted in a rainfall deficit of 50% and significant depletion of our freshwater reserves.”
Dr. Harris explained that due to the water issue in the Federation, the Water Services Department initiated a water rationing programme and outreach to consumers in order to encourage water conservation in households.
“My Team Unity Government has no intention of allowing this issue to continue unaddressed, as it is has serious implications for health and hygiene, productivity and sustainable growth and development,” said the prime minister. “In this regard, the Ministry of Public Infrastructure has examined the situation and has determined that, in conjunction with the rationing and conversation approaches, a number of additional measures and critical investments would be necessary in order to protect this precious resource.”
He stated that the short, medium and long term plans would be advanced in 2016. This, he said, would be done to provide relief from the water shortage situation and to ensure continued reliable access to households and businesses.
The Honourable Ian Patches Liburd, Minister of Public Infrastructure, disclosed that US$5 million was allocated for a deep water drilling project. This is anticipated to bring some 2 million gallons of water to residents in St. Kitts to assist in alleviating the current water shortage situation. Prior reports indicate that this is expected to come on stream in 2016.
In response to the water shortage, the government has launched public awareness campaigns to encourage water conservation, conducted water system improvements in several rural communities, introduced island-wide demand management, discontinued the sale of water to cruise ships and held stakeholder consultations.
Currently, there are six water sources and 25 wells in use in St. Kitts. Ground water sources are supplied from the areas of Wingfield, Cayon-Green Hill, Franklands, Phillips Village, Stone Forth and Lodge, while ground water supplies are extracted from wells in Basseterre, St. Peters, Conaree, Mansion, Tabernacle, Saddlers, St. Pauls and other areas.