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Water Department officials talk supply plans to meet water demand

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by Kevon Browne

St. Kitts and Nevis (WINN): Water Manager and Engineer in the Water Department Cromwell Williams has confirmed efforts to increase the water supplies to citizens and residents of St. Kitts and Nevis.

During the inaugural broadcast (February 9) of the department’s new program, The Water Line on ZIZ, Williams said this renewed effort to secure more water sources has stemmed from increased consumer demand.

“St. Kitts has been having a housing boom for decades now and every day every week, every month we get new requests from the Ministry of Sustainable Development, where they have given out new housing development areas. We are [required to] go and extend the distribution system into these housing developments. I think currently there are [at least] 20 or so that we currently have under consideration from the Ministry of Sustainable Development to install new housing distribution,” said Williams.

“We are also planning this year to undertake the construction of a few reservoirs. As you imagine, as the population increases, we have to expand our storage capacity in different areas. So we are hoping to construct a few reservoirs this year.”

The construction of new reservoirs is designed to expand storage capacity to facilitate the increased water demand. Surface water sources that existed previously are inadequate.

On St. Kitts, the surface supplies for water are at Wingfield, Frankland, Stonefort, Lodge, Phillip’s and Greenhill. On Nevis, the intake areas are at Nevis Peak, Prison Farm, Camps Spring and Jessups.

“We’re still getting the same amount of water basically from them. But if you look at safety, so we have grown and expanded, you realise that or water demands must have doubled and quadrupled over the years, but it is because we were able to drill new wells that we are able to largely still meet the demands of our customers.”

The department will continue to drill for more sources of water. According to Williams, one has been added in the last eight years, and he said in an ideal world, there would be more wells on stream.

“Ideally, we should have had additional wells developed during that last time period. But we can’t go back; we have to deal with the present and the future. And so, it is our plan and our thrust that in the coming months and years, we will re-activate our drilling program so that we can bring additional water, groundwater into our system.”

In the short term, the stress on the supply and demand of water in the Federation is threatened by the upcoming dry season.

Last year, officials urged consumers to conserve water as the country faced what they described as a severe dry season or drought.

It was reported that rainfall from January to April 2021 was approximately 6 inches, half the amount for the same period in 2020.

Short-term and long-term drought concerns for St. Kitts and Nevis are favourable according to Caribbean Climate Outlook Forum’s (CariCOF) Drought Outlook. The water department is still encouraging the people of the Federation to exercise conservation practices.

Some of those practices according to the Water Department, are:

1. Be conscious of the amount of water in use. Whenever you can, use less water.

2. Fix Leaks, which can waste about 10 percent of the water used in homes.

3. Use water-saving devices to reduce water usage like aerators, flow regulators and displacement devices.

4. Re-use water – Used water from the kitchen sink or shower can be used for other purposes, including irrigation.

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