NIA CHARLESTOWN NEVIS (May 29, 2020) — The following is a statement by Hon. Spencer Brand, Minister responsible for Water Services in the Nevis Island Administration (NIA) on the status of the water supply.
Fellow Nevisians and residents,
As Minister with responsibility for Water on the island of Nevis, I felt compelled to provide you with an update on the water situation on the island of Nevis.
Everyone knows that we are currently experiencing a prolong period of drought which we anticipated. What we did not anticipate was the COVID-19 pandemic which is affecting the whole world, and St. Kitts and Nevis is no exception.
Plans were already in place to augment our water supply through several projects which were ongoing. These include firstly bringing online the developed well at Hamilton Estate through the implementation of a water treatment plant at our reservoir site. As reported before, the well can produce 230 gallons per minute but it needed to be treated to make it potable water, in accordance with the World Health Organization (WHO) standards.
The supplier of the equipment and the engineering firm installing the water treatment plant cannot travel to the Federation at this time due to the closure of our borders and the conditions and protocols which they have to follow in their country of origin as well as in the Federation. The good news is that we have all of the equipment on island, except for a shipment of pipes and fittings which we expect to arrive before the end of June.
Secondly, we had initiated a new drilling programme after terminating a second contract with BEAD [Bedrock Exploration and Development Technologies] due to unfulfilled commitments but COVID-19 has delayed our efforts in completing this process.
Thirdly, we have successfully installed a 400,000 gallon-Aquastore glass fused tank at Hamilton Estate to store more water in anticipation of the Water Treatment Plant Project. Moreover, there is a proposal to install a 300,000-gallon tank at Pond Hill.
Finally, we are at the feasibility stage of a St. Kitts and Nevis Solar Water Desalination Project which includes building a hybrid desalination plant on Nevis with concessionary funding from the United Arab Emirates.
However, currently we are experiencing low levels of water due to an increase in water usage, since the COVID-19 lockdowns when everyone is at home including our children. The water department has recorded an increase in demand since the lockdowns.
We have been monitoring the situation on a regular basis, and have activated our drought management plan which would result in water conservation mitigative measures in certain areas depending on the water levels in the tanks. Some of our water wells are already under strain due to constant pumping with little or no recharging of the aquifers due to the drought.
Despite our challenges and in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Nevis Island Administration is also implementing the water waiver relief package for individual persons and farmers for six months (April to September 2020). The waiver can be applied for at our Nevis Water Department office come Tuesday, June 02, 2020.
We would therefore like to appeal to the people of Nevis to practise water conservation measures such as – having shorter showers, limiting vehicle washing, the watering of lawns and gardens, and checking for leaks frequently, to name a few.
Your cooperation and understanding in this important matter would be greatly appreciated. Please rest assured that we are doing everything to manage the situation.
Let me take this opportunity to commend the hard working management and staff of the Nevis Water Department for their diligence so far during these difficult and challenging circumstances.
We want to thank you the general public for your understanding also. These are unusual and challenging times but with God’s help we will overcome.
Thank you. Stay safe and God bless.