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Supplying potable water continues to be a major issue for communities in St. Kitts as drought continues


by Kevon Browne

St. Kitts and Nevis (WINN): The water situation will worsen in St. Kitts and Nevis, says Environment and Climate Action Minister, Hon. Dr Joyelle Clarke.

The Senator made that statement during her ministry report during the July 13 Prime Minister’s Press Conference when relaying the remarks that June had possibly been the warmest June in 100,000 years and July 3 was the hottest day ever recorded globally and the effects of the drastic change in temperatures has on the climate, food and water.

“Hotter temperatures enhance evaporation which reduces surface water from our soil and our vegetation, our lakes, our underground water supplies. I share this to extend [support] to the Ministry of Water as the Ministry of Climate Action constantly does to indicate that one of the first ways that we feel the climate crisis in St. Kitts and Nevis is the water situation that we’re experiencing, and it will get worse and we do appreciate the civil engineering – the work that has to be done to ensure we can access water -, but we must appreciate that unless we change, we will not have more water. But the climate crisis is manageable if we continue supporting the work of our Minister of Water and their entire department as they push for more water for our people. We are hurting the climate.”

Water continues to be a major issue for the people of St. Kitts and Nevis, especially in the most affected areas such as Cayon, where for years, continuous supply of water to residents in that community has been a problem.

The government has indicated that various avenues for securing more water continue, such as buying water from the St. Kitts Marriott Resort, desalination, digging more wells and scouting other ground or surface water sources throughout the Federation to alleviate the water strain.

Minister Responsible for Water, Hon. Konris Maynard, said that the government understands the frustration of people suffering from the water shortage we are currently experiencing. The Federation received 60% of rainfall in 2023 compared to the same period in 2022, a significant water loss from our main water procurement source.

The Water Minister broke down the reality of the water situation even further, saying, “So, if we had ten gallons before to share or ten people, we only have six gallons now to share with the same ten people. So nature is not on our side at the moment because, of course, of climate change.”

There may be some light a the end of the tunnel for the residents of Cayon if repairs to the drilling rig are successful and if the areas identified as having water pockets are deemed potable.

“We are pleased to announce that the drillers are presently on the ground in Cayon, and they are doing the final remediation to the drilling rig that was left abandoned here by the last administration. There had to be extensive repairs needed to that rig. It was vandalised, and we are hoping that this last iteration of improvement of that rig will allow for the drilling to continue or rather to start, if not this week, hopefully by next week, all going well with the repairs that are presently happening this week. So the drillers are on board. So if all goes well with the drilling, we hope to get up close to 500,000 gallons of water a day. That will solve the water issue in Cayon, but it will also help in areas such as St. Peter’s, so the well in Cayon has multiple effects across the areas that are affected by the drought and the lack of water.”

Prime Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis, Hon. Dr. Terrance Drew as parliamentary representative for Cayon in Constituency Eight, also indicated that a plan would be implemented to help those most vulnerable secure potable water.

“We are going to put a storage plan in place where we’re [going to] help residents who are affected most to get storage containers so that they can store water. We have sent out the water truck. We have sent out the fire trucks where needs are so that people can have access to water. But I am happy to say that in less than a year, this government has put in place a significant number of policies that will resolve the water issue.”

After Cayon, Shadwell will be the next community with water issues to address, which would help supply water to the Basseterre and St. Peter’s areas. Work is also being done on expanding the water supply in the Frigate Bay area, where the aim is to increase the water supply to 400,000 gallons a day that would serve not just Frigate Bay but the Peninsular and well, which has also been suffering from water supply issues in recent months.

On desalination, which has been heavily discussed, Minister Maynard promised some traction in the coming months once the evaluation of its viability is favourable.

“Very shortly, we’ll have an update on the desalination efforts of this government. It is presently being evaluated. And again, if that is correct, we will have at least another 2 million gallons of water being added to our system within the next six to eight months or thereabout – all going well. So the plans are in place. Water will not be an issue in a short period of time. But we must stress that we had to do the diligent work of doing sound foundation to achieve our water goals.”

While the drought continues to affect the region, water issues will persist, especially in the most vulnerable areas. People in the affected areas – Canyon, Shadwell, St. Peter’s, etc. – could consider adopting the practice of storing water and investing in water catchment and storage devices to help secure water as the government continues to work on securing potable water for the Federation.


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