(ZIZ News) — An OECS project on water conservation is continuing this week with training of water department staff focusing on water auditing and pressure management.

The week-long course is part of a larger initiative being undertaken in the region in response to climate change and targeting water conservation.

The participants will first be looking at how water is used at government institutions and facilitator Alphonsus Daniel said that includes upgrading the infrastructure where necessary to reduce wastage.

“We just finished the abattoir and Verchilds High and St. Pauls Primary and we’re hoping to design the retrofit for JNF Hospital and the OECS Secretariat and the European Union has made funding available to retrofit so we could conserve water at that institution,” he said.

One aspect that will be addressed will be the pressure of the water within pipes.

“If you look at the topography at St. Kitts obviously there are zones with very very high pressure. And when you have a like with high pressure you lose a lot of water. So we’re looking at the zoning of redoing the calculations again to come up with adequate pressure, just enough to serve the houses, the commercial entities and look to reducing pressure,” he said.

Consultant Dr Halla Sahely has been contracted to work on the training project and she notes that leaking pipes is a big problem in the region and much of the water supply is lost through these leaks.

She said “Upwards of 50 percent of the water we’re not collecting revenue for which means a good portion of that, about 40 percent is actually being lost through leaky pipes, corroded pipes, overflowing tanks.”

She noted that while 50 percent is “too high” this is something that is not uncommon.

“You’d find in the Caribbean region and even worldwide you’d find 50 percent of water loss from distribution systems is something that is happening. So we need to be very proactive about saving that water especially in this time of unprecedented drought in St. Kitts,” she said.

The training course is part of the iLand Resilience Project, a regional project funded by the European Union that also contains a public awareness component.