Protection of the Basseterre Valley Aquifer Ploughs Ahead

Section of Basseterre Valley

St. Kitts, June 03, 2010 (SKNIS) – Work continues steadily on the Protection of the Basseterre Valley Aquifer Project following Cabinet’s approval of plans for the completion of Phase I and the commencement of Phase II.

Officially scheduled to conclude at the end of June 2010, Phase I involves an evaluation of the area specific to the land mass and its water content. The area’s mapping including an analysis the water supply, a survey of the watershed or natural water drainage system that supplies the aquifer, and a review of the current policy and laws pertaining to water resource management are currently ongoing.

The Cabinet of the Government of St. Kitts and Nevis also fully endorsed the seeking of funds for Phase II from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and other agencies for financial and technical support. Basseterre Valley Aquifer Project Manager Ian Liburd has identified that initial discussions have already taken place with Rob Weary, Senior Policy Advisor for Latin America and the Caribbean pertaining to financial support from The Nature Conservancy which is expected to become available by January 01, 2011.

Other activities include clearing the Aquifer sections around the Taiwanese Demonstration Farm along the Kim Collins Highway to allow a view of the partially renovated sugar mill; the field adjacent to Wellington Road which is a proposed business park; and east of the windmill in the area reserved for the proposed visitor centre. In order to undertake this activity, the Basseterre Valley Aquifer Project Management Unit (PMU) has proposed the use of the equipment of the Agriculture Resource Management Project (ARMP). As long as this is granted it would involve the use of a heavy-roaming harrow and bulldozer to remove the sugar cane in stages. Initial discussions were also held with the Department of Lands and Surveys for the appropriate survey plan and legal documenting of the area for the proposed Park.

The main implementation activities for Phase II of the project will include the development of draft legislation including the St. Kitts-Nevis Protected Area System and the St. Kitts-Nevis Protected Area Trust; additional analysis for a revenue generation strategy; a landscape plan for the National Park and detailed implementation planning to establish a conservation service as well as public education, a tourism “thank you” programme and the like. These activities will take place prior to the construction of the amphitheatre, visitor centre and the water feature of the National Park.

Upcoming activities of the PMU include the Global Environment Facility (GEF) – Integrating Watershed and Coastal Areas Management (IWCAM) 2nd Lessons Learned and Good Practices Workshop, taking place June 22 to 24, 2010 in Jamaica where St. Kitts and Nevis will update on local activities. The workshop also coincides with the Fifth Caribbean Environmental Forum and Exhibition (CEF5) which runs from June 21 to 25 in Jamaica. All GEF IWCAM demonstration projects are expected to present material and as such the Basseterre Valley Aquifer will also be featured.

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