Basseterre, Saint Kitts – September 14, 2015 – The Inter-Agency Sustainable Destination Management Council (IASDMC) has released a statement of support for the St. Kitts Water Services Department’s water conservation efforts, stating, “doing nothing is not an option”.
During the IASDMC’s monthly meeting on Tuesday, September 8th, 2015, the Council heard a presentation on “Tourism-Related Water Use and the Current State of Water in St. Kitts”, which was co-facilitated by Mr. Denison Paul, Acting Manager of Water Services, and Miss Leah Carriere, Assistant Sustainable Tourism Coordinator at Sustainable Travel International. Mr. Paul revealed that, as of August 2015, the Federation has experienced a rainfall deficit of fourteen inches (14”), which is the worst in over fifty years. He stated, “This means that our supplies are also in deficit and the Water Services Department will have to further control the demand in an effort to sustainably manage the resource in anticipation of the coming dry season”. Mr. Paul also expressed that despite the employment of water rationing and public awareness activities, there has been no observed change in water consumption patterns in St. Kitts.
The presentation was followed by an impassioned discussion about what needs to be done to ensure a sustainable water supply for the future, which resulted in a list of recommendations for the management of destination water resources.
Mrs. Diannille Taylor-Williams, Assistant Secretary of the Ministry of Tourism and IASDMC Chair conveyed, “With the projected growth in tourism, which contributes significantly to our economy, the conservation of water is imperative in order to support our local communities and economic well-being. St. Kitts is marketed as a luxury destination but this reputation could be at risk if visitors’ experiences do not live up to their expectations because of inadequate access to water in their hotel rooms”.
She continued, “Currently, the tourism sector accounts for 15% of water use on St Kitts, which is significantly less than the 55% consumed by local households. But, as the industry continues to grow, it is anticipated that these figures will change. Therefore, it is important for community members, government agencies, businesses and visitors alike to participate in various conservation strategies, which can start with making simple lifestyle changes. As we say in IASDMC, ‘Good for us, better for all’”.
The Council has the following recommendations for tourism stakeholders and local citizens to improve the management of destination water resources:
- Implement a strategic plan for an aggressive multi-media campaign that targets households, school children, government agencies, businesses, and all tourism- related enterprises. The campaign should utilize print media, radio, television, the Internet, and workshops to encourage the adoption of water conservation methods in business operations and lifestyles.
- Conduct an impact study of water use and threats in the tourism and agriculture sectors.
- Explore the possibility of forging new partnerships to help finance water conservation innovations.
- Open a dialogue with policy makers to encourage mandating the use of water conservation devices in new developments and encourage retrofits of pre-existing structures through a comprehensive incentive programme.
- Explore the feasibility of expanding onsite water storage facilities.
The IASDMC has pledged to assist water conservation efforts in whatever way it can, and is planning a meeting to develop a strategy and action plan. It is also calling on all other government agencies, businesses, and households to assist by becoming ambassadors of water conservation. Contact the IASDMC Secretariat, at firstname.lastname@example.org, if you are interested in supporting these recommendations.
About the Inter-Agency Sustainable Destination Management Council:
The Inter-Agency Sustainable Destination Management Council (IASDMC) is a voluntary group that consists of representatives from government agencies and sustainable tourism-related enterprises. IASDMC facilitates partnerships and functional relationships among public and private sectors and all people in St. Kitts, to ensure that development in our destination preserves and benefits our environment, culture, heritage, and community livelihoods.