St. Kitts-Nevis and Bahamas Exchange Groundwater Ideas

Basseterre, St. Kitts, December 05, 2011 (SKNIS): The Basseterre Valley Aquifer and a similar GEF-IWCAM demonstration project will be the subject of groundwater management discussions, when six officials from The Bahamas are hosted by the St. Kitts Water Services Department this week.

Termed the “Rehabilitation and Management of the Basseterre Valley Aquifer,” the Global Environment Facility (GEF) Integrating Watershed and Coastal Areas Management (IWCAM) sponsored project, located in St. Kitts, had the objective of investigating the condition of the groundwater and implementing measures aimed at reducing possible negative effects, such as pollution and the removal of too much water. Considering that The Bahamas had a similar groundwater project, the representatives from both countries intend to learn from each other’s experiences in the protection of their fresh water sources and natural resources in general.

In St. Kitts and Nevis, the Basseterre Valley Aquifer is the single largest source of drinking water in St. Kitts; providing two and a half million gallons per day, which is 70 percent of the water used in Basseterre, Frigate Bay and the South East Peninsular. One of the critical outcomes of the project is the designation of the Ponds-Needsmust Well-field Area as a protected area with the intention to convert it into a National Park. It consists of 500 acres on either side of the Kim Collins Highway, that is vulnerable to pollution.

The Government of St. Kitts and Nevis and GEF-IWCAM saw the importance of protecting the Basseterre Valley Aquifer and in 2008 a Project Management Unit was established. St. Kitts and Nevis is among 13 Caribbean countries that have implemented IWCAM projects between 2006 and 2011. GEF has provided US$14 million in grants that have assisted in the implementation of nine demonstration projects in eight countries.

For further information pertaining to the discussions with the Bahamian GEF-IWCAM counterparts contact the St. Kitts Water Services Department at 466-3070 or at wsdskn@sisterisles.kn.

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