St Kitts and Nevis (WINN): St. Kitts has a long way to go before it can efficiently recycle and implement proper treatment of waste water for re-use.
This is according to Water Engineer, Acting Manager of the Water Services Department Dennison Paul, as the federation celebrates World Water Day on March 22 under the theme, “Why Waste Water?”
“We use, about eighty percent of the water we use, is considered wastewater. In St. Kitts, minimal, I suspect we don’t reuse more than five percent of our wastewater. And so that is why this time we are taking the opportunity to educate folks on the reuse, not only the reuse but to ensure that the wastewater is properly treated, for if it is not properly treated, then it is difficult to reuse. So it’s treatment of the waste and the reuse of the waste. How it can be reused? A lot of it can be reused in agriculture for irrigation, that is maybe the easiest way as it is now. Unlike most jurisdictions, we don’t have what is called municipal wastewater treatment plants, where you gather wastewater in a central location, treat it, and then you have all this volume of water that you can use right away. In our situation most of us have septic tanks and what we call soaker wickets, and so the water is treated by the septic tank and then it goes into the soil, and you don’t really have much access to it. Although, particularly in the Frigate Bay Area and the Half Moon area we have package treatment plants and most of the users there, most of the people there, who have these plants they actually reuse the water for irrigation. In that part of the island, yes there is, but in most parts of the island we have very little reuse of our wastewater” Paul said.
The Water Department has several activities planned for next week in observance of World Water Day, including a water-cade and visits to schools across the island promoting water conservation.
“We launched the activities on Sunday (March 19), we had a church service at the Beacon of Hope church. During next week, we have a visit to the various schools, high schools and primary schools where senior officers from the department would be educating staff and pupils on the current water issues having to do with the theme for this year, wastewater, and basically encouraging people to reduce their use [of water] and to reuse wastewater. There is supposed to be a panel discussion on ZIZ, I think it is Thursday which is next week, and on Saturday we have what we dub a water-cade which is basically stop-overs around the island and we are partnering with stakeholders from NHC, from environment, from planning and from agriculture. Those are the main events. Another issue would be handing over of the heater for the water department where the Minister and the Prime Minister supposed to be involved in.”
Mr. Paul said that the country has a serious problem with water scarcity due to climate change, resulting in the department being unable to meet the demand for water consumption. The Department is working on measures to alleviate the water shortage brought on by drought conditions; however Mr. Paul stressed that consumers need to stop wasting water.
“We have a problem, in fact, it’s a regional problem and it’s becoming a worldwide problem – with climate change means we have less rainfall, the dry season is longer, the wet season shorter, and so we cannot guarantee the supply as we want it. And so for the past two years or so we have not been able to meet the demands of our residents for domestic and commercial use, and it has been a while now since we have not been able to meet the use for agriculture. There are plans for folks, we are encouraging more judicious use of the water, more conservation, because traditionally we have had what I like to term a culture of waste, where the supply was reliable for years but in recent part of the last two, three years, that has not been the case and our people now have to adjust our behavior because we don’t have the rainfall. Rainfall equals freshwater supply and so we are now struggling with that behavioral change but as I said, firstly, we are trying to conserve and reduce use, secondly we are trying to bring new water on stream we have two projects on stream that should be bringing an additional two million gallons of water which will increase the supply by thirty-five, forty percent, and now we start tackling the idea of reuse.”