Basseterre, St. Kitts, March 22, 2016 (SKNIS): Livelihoods that rely on a clean and reliable water supply were highlighted by Minister of Public Infrastructure, Posts, Urban Development and Transport, Honourable Patches Liburd, during his message in commemoration of World Water Day, March 22, 2016.
The Minister, who holds responsibility for the Water Services Department, noted that “many people work in jobs directly related to the water sector and need a reliable water supply for their livelihoods.”
“Our local bottlers, be it soft drinks, beer or water provide employment for significant portions of our population,” Minister Liburd said. “Our farmers as well, need water to irrigate their crops if they are to sustain their families, feed the nation and help the country to achieve food security.”
He further made the link between tourism-related jobs and water.
“The hotels need water not only to cook, clean and wash but also to maintain the positive visitor experience to our destination,” Minister Liburd said, outlining that previously many cruise liners were supplied with water from the Federation. This arrangement was temporarily halted due to the current drought conditions in the Federation.
“It is estimated that we will welcome over (1) million cruise visitors for the 2015-2016 Season,” the Minister said. “The nexus between water, tourism and jobs cannot therefore be clearer. An unreliable supply of good quality water, will jeopardise tourism, kill jobs, destroy livelihoods and ultimately ruin families.”
The Minister with the purview of Water Services also reflected on the jobs undertaken by the personnel at the Department. He observed that the work of the over 100 employees who manage the island’s fresh water resources often goes unnoticed.
“Their job has oftentimes been described as invisible because it is concentrated in remote areas including the mountains of Phillips Village, Greenhill in Cayon and Wingfield Mountain in Old Road,” Minister Liburd said. “They drill wells in excess of 300 feet below the earth’s surface and pump water to storage reservoirs nestled in the many hills all around our island. The pipelines that connect these sources to the storage tanks and to consumers are hidden three (3) feet underground. This work is rarely seen and seldom appreciated.”
Minister Liburd encouraged the general public to pause on World Water Day (March 22) to “reflect on the good work the employees of the Water Services Department continue to perform so as to ensure a daily flow of water through our taps, a job that is even more challenging as we endure this historic drought.”
World Water Day is an international celebration, designated by the United Nations in 1993. There is a specific theme each year designed to make a difference for the members of the global population who suffer from water related issues. It is also a day to prepare for the future management of water.