by Eulana Weekes
St. Kitts and Nevis (WINN): Mr. Cromwell Williams, Water Engineer at the St. Kitts Water Services Department has updated the General Public on the status of the water supply on St.Kitts.Williams during the radio programme “The Waterline” on Wednesday, August 10 2022 said there has been more rainfall in the second half of the year and the water situation is expected to improve.
“As we’ve always said, the first half of the year tends to be drier and as we get into the second half of the year we begin to get more of the rainfall; and so we are now in August, coming up on mid August and I think we are a little bit past the driest part of the year. I honestly tried to get some updated information on the rainfall which I was not able to get, but from my own observations, we have begun to get a bit more rain, so we will expect that in the coming months, we will see some improvement in terms of the flows from the water sources; and as a result, we should be able to see some improvement in terms of the reliability of the supply.”
During the first half of the year, the island was experiencing frequent dry spells, which contributed to water shortages and led to water rationing in several areas. However, Williams explained that the increase in rainfall does not remove the possibility of a water rationing system; adding that solutions are being worked upon to fix the water challenges.
Williams said, “In terms of the solution, we know that, as we’ve said from a very long time ago, as the country continues to develop, there will come a time when our demands- our consumption of water will outstrip our production unless we can find new sources of water. The news sources are in the main two options; continue to drill more wells and also eventually, we will have to turn to desalination to supplement that demand for water.”
As it relates to well drilling, the Water Engineer said the Water Services Department has engaged a Well Drilling Company (BEAD) which is in the process of mobilizing its resources and is expected to begin well drilling in Cayon in the coming weeks.
“They just brought in a piece of equipment. They brought in an engine as part of rehabilitating their drill rig and so we expect in the coming weeks to see that piece of equipment in the Cayon area, starting the Well drilling process. As a matter of fact, you will see it because the spot they have first identified is right on the main road in the Cabbage Tree Area; so we are excited that we will start in the coming weeks.”
Williams shared that a typical well in that area of the island will be several hundred feet deep and that the drilling process should take a couple of months. He explained that well drilling is a high-risk process because it is difficult to determine exactly what will be found when they are drilling 400 feet or more down into the ground. However, the Water Engineer said that based on preliminary studies, the drilling should be successful, and once successful, they will develop the well and install electricity, etc. In addition, Williams mentioned that the whole process, from when the drilling begins up until water is produced from the well can take approximately six months.
As it relates to desalination, Williams revealed that there are privately owned desalination plants on St.Kitts, one which is supplying water to the St. Kitts Marriott Hotel and another that is supplying water to Park Hyatt. He explained that they are trying to delay the process of desalination on St. Kitts as long as possible because it is much more expensive than the regular sources of water such as springs and wells. However, Williams said with the significant development taking place in the country there is no choice but to move towards desalination.
“There is one small desalination plant which we are expected to see coming online pretty soon. It is actually a donation from the United Arab Emirates to the Government of St.Kitts and Nevis and this is one that we have been negotiating at some time now, so that is expected to come online soon, but in terms of the larger source that is required for Basseterre, that is still in the early stages of planning.”
Meanwhile, the Water Engineer said there is still evidence of leaks on several properties, advising individuals to check their water bills for change in consumption and also ensure to practise water conservation methods.