Water Services launches new website on Friday

Assistant Water Engineer, Dr. Halla Sehaly

Basseterre, St. Kitts, March 21, 2013 (SKNIS): The Water Services Department in St. Kitts is set to launch its new website that will promote water related issues and give the agency a new platform to interact with the public.

On this week’s edition of Perspectives, Assistant Water Engineer, Dr. Halla Sehaly, indicated that the website www.water.gov.kn will go live on World Water Day on Friday (March 22) during a promotional activity at the Circus in Basseterre. She stated that it will serve as a very important tool with a number of features the public will find useful.

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“There’ll be a whole section on customer services – “How I pay my bill? How I read my meter? How to interpret my bill? What [do I do] when I have a leak? Who is my water overseer? When does my meter get read? All kinds of information that you may have wondered about you’ll be able to have at your fingertips,” said Dr. Sehaly. “All types of forms will be on the website – new connection forms [and] change of address forms. They’ll be a whole section on water conservation and education. All types of materials, posters that school teachers or anybody can access for their children and even for themselves in terms of how to conserve water in the house.”

Using water in a sustainable way was emphasized during the interview by the Assistant Water Engineer considering the current period of low rainfall which is projected to last for some time.

“A good amount of our water comes from groundwater 60 or 70 percent and the rest comes from springs,” revealed Dr. Sehaly. “… This year we are having a dry spell and it’s impacted us maybe more so than in other years and it’s mostly because it’s this dry spell coupled with some other operational and infrastructural issues that we’ve had in the past year.”

Creating what Dr. Sehaly described as “the perfect storm” these issues have resulted in low water pressure in select areas of St. Peters and Basseterre. On some occasions, officials have been forced to pre-emptively shut off supply to a few areas in Basseterre.

“I know that this is something consumers are not accustomed to especially in St. Kitts,” the water official explained, noting that some neighbouring islands have had to perform such actions regularly. “I think it really underscores the fact that we think that water is in abundance in St. Kitts and that’s actually is not the case. We have a limited precious water resource and we have to work very hard to make sure that we have it for our consumers today and consumers tomorrow and for generations to come.”

Tips were shared on ways the public can reduce water wastage including fixing leaky toilets and faucets, taking shorter showers, rinsing dishes in a container as well as not watering lawns or doing so early at mornings or at evenings.

During a press conference on Wednesday (March 20), Deputy Prime Minister and Minister responsible for Utilities, Dr. Earl Asim Martin, noted that government was aggressively pursuing initiatives to address the ongoing dry spell which started about three months ago. He revealed that a Cabinet submission was made three weeks ago to facilitate the reactivation of two wells at the Basseterre Valley Aquifer at Needsmust. These are estimated to produce approximately 500,000 gallons of water per day. Discussions are also ongoing with a private firm to assist in deep well drilling to identify and tap new sources of potable water.

Assistant Water Engineer Sehaly disclosed that while there are no plans to raise water tariffs, which typically carries a $20 monthly charge per household, she would like to see persons change their attitude and recognize water as the valuable resource it is, as it cost millions of dollars in investment to provide a fresh supply to consumers daily and that supply impacts all economic activity in St. Kitts.

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