Water security project improvements are viewed by, left to right, Hon. Jonel Powell, Minister of Education; Hon. Shawn Richards, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Public Infrastructure and Utilities; Hon. Eric Evelyn, Minister of Environment and Cooperatives; and H.E. Tom Lee, Resident Ambassador of the Republic of China (Taiwan) to St. Kitts and Nevis.

BASSETERRE, St. Kitts — Eighteen schools across the twin-island Federation have benefited from the recently launched USAID and Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Climate Change Centre (CCCCC)-Funded Water Security Project.

The USAID and CARICOM Climate Change Centre CCCCC-funded Water Security Project in vulnerable schools is very timely in helping the Federation’s learning institutions respond to water scarcity issues and building resilience to climate change in St. Kitts and Nevis, said Minister of Education, the Honourable Jonel Powell.

Hon. Powell spoke on October 16, at the closing ceremony for a climate change adaptation project entitled, “Ensuring Water Security in Vulnerable Schools in St. Kitts and Nevis through Onsite Water Storage Capacity.”

The project was sponsored by USAID and the CCCCC, and implemented by the Ministry of Environment, Ministries of Public Works and the Ministries of Education across the twin-island Federation.

The minister noted that the project is even timelier because of the COVID-19 Pandemic, which has created increased demands on schools to provide water for sanitation purposes. He added that the Federation has been experiencing drought-like conditions over the past few years to the extent where rationing programmes were put in place in some areas.

“Notwithstanding, there are days of high consumption and usage, and customers experience extremely low pressure and unplanned service interruptions,” said Powell. “These interruptions impact the schools in significant ways as classes would have to be suspended under such conditions.”

Minister Powell said that the main aim of the project is to enhance water security and resilience to climate change through the installation of the water storage tanks and pumps in several areas.

He said priority will be given to schools that are located on the water stressed communities.

The project has provided storage tanks and supporting pumps to schools that are in need of backup water supplies.

“Therefore, this project has done two things,” said Powell. “It has provided a backup water supply for schools, which ensures that classes are not interrupted because of disruptions in the water supply at the particular schools. Second, it has provided water storage tanks to schools and day care centres to ensure that water is readily available at these institutions.”

He said 18 educational facilities in St. Kitts and Nevis have benefited from the US $205,000 Climate Change Adaption Project aimed at ensuring that water is readily available at the learning institutions.

“The Climate Change Adaption Project will address the scarcity of water faced by these institutions,” said Powell. “The project has retrofitted existing cisterns in some areas and installed the water storage tanks in others. These institutions include nurseries, day care centres, preschools, primary schools and secondary schools.”

Institutions that have benefited include: the McKnight Day Care Centre, the Industrial Site Day Care Centre, the Cayon Nursery; the Tabernacle Day Care Centre; the Saddlers Nursery; the Sandy Point Preschool; the Sandy Point Nursery; Charlestown Preschool; the Dr. William Connor Primary School; the Beach Allen Primary School; the Cayon Primary School; the Dieppe Bay Primary School; the Charlestown Primary School; the St. James Primary School; Cicely Integrated Primary School; Ivory Walters Primary School; Cayon High School and Charlestown High School.