My Fellow Citizens and Residents I bring you Greetings Today March the 22nd is World Water Day, and it provides us with an opportunity to draw your attention to this precious resource called water. It is well documented that although about 70 percent of the Earth’s surface is covered by water only less than 1 percent is available for human use. A day like today thus provides an opportunity to emphasise the importance of fresh water to mankind.
Every year a theme is selected, and some themes provoke our thoughts in different ways. This year’s theme Leaving No One Behind provokes us to think deeply and it beckons us to not only to think but to act.
In 2015 the 2030 UN agenda for Sustainable Development was launched, and 17 goals were established with the objective of eradicating poverty in all forms and seeking to realize the human rights of all. Back in 2010, the United Nations recognized “the right to safe and clean drinking water and sanitation, as a human right, that is essential for the full enjoyment of life and all human rights.”
The human right to water entitles everyone, without discrimination, to be sufficient, safe, acceptable, physically accessible and affordable water for personal and domestic use; which includes water for drinking, personal sanitation, washing of clothes, food preparation, also personal and household hygiene.
“Access to safe water is therefore a fundamental human need and, thus,
a basic human right. This year’s theme is perfectly aligned with Sustainable Development Goal number 6 to ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all. A relatively simple idea to express. But requires tremendous effort and collaboration across all sectors.
In St Kitts, domestic water use has seen a significant increase in demand and with Tourism and Agriculture, both rapidly growing sectors, a strain has now been put on an increasingly scarce resource thus the need for collaboration, could not be greater.
Collaboration itself requires “organisation” if it is to be successful. A potentially complex arrangement with competing needs of each sector requires deep thought, planning and realistic execution of the said plans. Each sector must take the necessary steps to manage their portion efficiently and effectively, reuse and recycle where possible and do as much as it can to keep our sources pristine and free of pollution.
As the water services department continues to build a more resilient water system, we must remain vigilant thankful and conscious. Thankful that we are not a part of some of the very troubling statistics
regarding water. Billions around the world still do not have access to fresh water, or access is limited to a few hours a day. Over 700 children die every day of diarrhea, linked to the consumption of unsafe water. and poor sanitation practices stemming from lack of water, – 159 million people collect their drinking water from polluted surface sources, such as ponds and streams.
Women and girls are responsible for water collection in eight out of ten households with water offpremises.
The drought of 2016 reminded us of the fragile nature of water supply especially now in this era of climate variability.
In different parts of the world people are left behind without safe water for many different reasons. When your Team Unity Government took office in 2015 we decided that such will not be the case in St Kitts and Nevis.
For that reason, the Water Services Department surveyed every household in St Kitts and since that time created a policy to connect each household with potable water.
In order to ‘leave no one behind’, we remain cognisant of the fact, that regulatory and legal frameworks must recognise the right to water for all of our people, and sufficient funding must be fairly and effectively targeted at those who need it most.
Today in addition to recognising world water day, I must also reaffirm the commitment of your Team Unity Government to protecting our water supply, and making certain that every financial, economic , and
social mechanism that is necessary to ensure the development of a resilient water system is put into place. This commitment would guarantee that we truly Leave No one Behind.
To further focus attention on water related issues the Water Services Department has planned a few activities to which all are invited to attend.
These activities include the first annual open day to be held at the Water Services Department’s Compound at Needsmust Estate on March 29th. There will also be a walk through the Basseterre Valley Wellfield Area on March 30th starting at 5:30 am and gathering at the Water Service Department.
In closing may I just remind us all that water is a critical building block of life. It is more than just an essentiality to quenching our thirst or protecting our health. Water is critical for creating jobs and stimulating economic, social, and human development
Thank you very much and I do hereby wish you all a Happy World Water Day. May God continue to bless our beloved Federation.