by Kevon Browne
St. Kitts and Nevis (WINN): On the heels of International Day of Forests on March 21 and Global Recycling Day on March 18, global leaders, policymakers and experts will gather for the United Nations (UN) 2023 Water Conference (March 22-24, New York) coinciding with World Water Day 2023.
According to the United Nations, “water and climate change are inextricably linked. Climate change affects the world’s water in complex ways – from unpredictable rainfall patterns to shrinking ice sheets, rising sea levels, floods and droughts – most impacts of climate change come down to water.” These negatively affect agriculture, tourism, infrastructure, health and other intersectional sections of society, especially for Small Island Developing States (SIDS).
One of the most significant impacts related to water is the scarcity of potable water. According to the Sustainable Development Goals report of 2022, “two billion people worldwide don’t have access to safe drinking water today, with almost half of the world’s population experiencing severe water scarcity for at least part of the year.
Global leaders committed to Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6 as part of the 2030 Agenda, which promises that everyone will have safely managed water and sanitation by 2030. The commitment was made in 2015, and the UN says, “Right now, we are seriously off-track”.
‘Business as usual’ can no longer cut it as climate change continues to affect access to water. Thus the theme this year is “Accelerating Change”.
Minister responsible for Water Services, Hon. Konris Maynard, is attending the UN 2023 Water Conference on behalf of the Federation to be a voice at the decision-making table.
On the occasion of World Water Day, Minister Maynard delivered an address where he indicated that if St. Kitts and Nevis does not intensify conservation efforts, we will run out of Water.
“Here in St. Kitts and Nevis, this must be a time of reckoning for us. 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 state of 104 square miles, all of our 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.”
Over the past decade in SKN, there has been an 18 per cent decrease in the average rainfall which could lead to longer dry periods and shorter and more intense wet seasons.
Maynard indicated that the government would invest $200 million over the next five to ten years o build out a more resilient and sustainable water infrastructure.
See the Minister’s full address here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XKfU3KEbk1g