Climate Change Adaptation Project Addresses Water Scarcity At Learning Institutions In St. Kitts And Nevis

Basseterre, St. Kitts, October 16, 2020 (SKNIS): 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, daycare centres, preschools, primary and secondary schools.

“The project is almost complete. Throughout St. Kitts and Nevis, over 4000 students and faculty have benefited and at least 18 institutions across the two islands are now equipped with onsite water storage tanks and delivery systems whether by pumps or by gravity to allow for the transmission of stored water through the piping system,” said Cheryl Jeffers, Conservation Officer at the Department of Environment, during the October 16 ceremony to commission the water storage tanks.

The total storage capacity of 82,400 gallons of water has been installed and retrofitted.

Minister of Environment, the Honourable Eric Evelyn, said that the project, which is 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. 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 to a consistent supply of clean water,” said Minister Evelyn. “It is also impacting on their health because, of course, we know that we cannot be healthy unless we have water. So, 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 that climate change is very real therefore, 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, of course, 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 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.

The cost of the project is US $205, 000.00.

The ceremony was also 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.

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