Government Joins UNESCO in Celebrating ‘Clean Water’

St. Kitts, March 23, 2010 (SKNIS): The government of St. Kitts and Nevis has joined with UNESCO and other nations around the word in acknowledging the importance of clean water.

The St. Kitts and Nevis National Commission, through its organ Small Islands Voice organized a World Water Day Seminar at the Ocean Terrace Inn today, March 22.

Under the theme: “Clean Water for a Healthy World,” the various stakeholders, including teachers, students, environmentalists and persons employed in the water sector, all agreed that water was crucial for health and development.

St. Kitts and Nevis UNESCO National Commission Secretary General Antonio Maynard read the UNESCO Director General Irina Bokova’s message, which stated the depressing statistics that two and an half billion people continue to live without proper sanitation and that 884 million have no access to safe drinking water.

Mr. Oaklyn Peets, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Public Works and Utilities, emphasized that water is linked to our social, economic and political development. Singling out the sector of health, he stressed that safe water has reduced certain illnesses.

Mr. Peets informed that in order to have the present success rate in safe water and efficient supply, a significant investment had to be made to the local Water Services infrastructure. He said that during the late 1990s a EC$18 million loan from the Kuwati Fund for Economic Development was used to construct eight reservoirs, drill wells, lay several miles of new pipeline and replace old pipeline. It was also used to build the office complex that now houses the Ministry of Utilities and the Water Service Department.

Similarly, Permanent Secretary Peets informed that between 2003 and 2006 EC$20 million was secured to finance the Water Supply Improvement Project. By the end of the project an additional one million gallons of groundwater was being obtained per day. This was particularly needed in the areas of Cayon, Ogee Ghaut, Mattingley Heights and Conaree.

After addressing the significance of water, Honourable Senator Nigel Carty, Minister of Education with responsibility for UNESCO, did not let the opportunity pass without acknowledging UNESCO. He thanked the organization for its contribution toward the development of St. Kitts and Nevis.

The outcome of the half day seminar is a compilation of recommendations that will be presented to local policymakers.

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