BASSETERRE, St. Kitts — The implementation of a climate change adaptation project in St. Kitts and Nevis will address the scarcity of water that some learning institutions are currently facing. The project will retrofit existing cisterns in some areas and install water storage tanks in others. These institutions include nurseries, day care centres, preschools, primary and secondary schools.
“The project is almost complete,” said Cheryl Jeffers, Conservation Officer at the Department of Environment, during the October 16 ceremony to commission the water storage tanks. Throughout St. Kitts and Nevis, more than 4,000 students and faculty have benefited and at least 18 institutions across the two islands are now equipped with onsite water storage tanks and pumps or by gravity delivery systems to allow for the transmission of stored water through the piping system.”
A total storage capacity of 82,400 gallons of water has been installed and retrofitted.
The ceremony was attended by the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Utilities, the Honourable Shawn Richards; Minister of Education, the Honourable Jonel Powell; permanent secretaries; other government officials; His Excellency Tom Lee, Resident Ambassador of the Republic of China (Taiwan) to St. Kitts and Nevis, and students.
Minister of Environment, the Honourable Eric Evelyn, said the project, dubbed “Ensuring Water Security in Vulnerable Schools in St. Kitts and Nevis through Onsite Water Storage Capacity,” is very impactful.
“This project is impacting our students,” said Hon. Evelyn. “Our students are our leaders of tomorrow. It is impacting the education system. And, of course… once it impacts the children and teachers it will also impact the parents because the parents need to know that once the children are in school, they have a consistent supply of clean water.
“It is also impacting on their health because we know that we cannot be healthy unless we have water. It impacts on the education of our students, their health and the society generally. It is a ripple effect from the students, to the teachers, to the parents and the entire community.”
Minister Evelyn said, “Climate change is very real and the importance of the project should never be underestimated.
“We here in St. Kitts and Nevis are not immune from the real bad effects of climate change and one of those effects is on the supply of water and the consistent supply of water,” he said. “We know that schools across the Federation have been affected negatively when there is water shortage and that is one of the main reasons why this project was conceptualized and executed. We want to ensure that our schools… will continue and will not be affected when there is a shortage of water.”
The cost of the project is US$205,000.
The Department of Environment in collaboration with Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre was supported by the Water Services Departments, Public Works Departments and the Ministries of Education in the twin-island Federation to ensure that the USAID funded project was successfully implemented.