Public urged to focus on the value of water
St Vincent and the Grenadines joined the globe in recognizing World Water Day yesterday, March 22, and putting the focus on the value of water.
The Nutrition Unit of the Ministry of Health, Wellness and the Environment(MOHWE), the Central Water and Sewage Authority(CWSA) and the National Parks, Rivers and Beaches Authority all made efforts to start the conversation on the meaning of water.
Senior Nutritionist, Nicole France-Nichols explained: “We can’t let Covid keep us silent, we have to get out there and tell persons about the importance of nutrition, being healthy.”
Their unit tried something refreshing this year, seeking to engage and interact with members of the public during a two hour morning event at the General Post Office in Kingstown, to sensitise them to the importance of water.
Tus-T Water Inc donated ten cases of water for participating citizens, and members of the unit were also equipped with face masks, sanitisers and brochures to hand out. The brochures outlined pertinent information such as why humans can’t live without water, and the required amount they should have.
It was revealed that the public was receptive, and many agreed to step forward to answer the question on why water is important.
Additionally, persons were encouraged to drink only water for the day instead of sugar filled beverages.
Also involved in delivering the message of the value of water to the public was Minister of Health, St Clair ‘Jimmy’ Prince, who penned a statement on the matter.
“The United Nations has as its theme ‘valuing water’ and none more than small island developing states understand the true value of fresh water for its multiplicity of uses, as we recognise our smallness of land space, being surrounded by seas,” he said in a national address.
Water and Sanitation are basic human rights according to goal six of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
However, “The summary progress report of March 2021 on SDG6 has not painted a very good picture,” summarizing that billions of persons worldwide live without safely managed drinking water and sanitization especially in rural areas and least developed countries.
The UN also maintains, the Minister noted, that severe droughts and unpredictability of finding alternative water sources increases every year.
“St Vincent and the Grenadines is no stranger to climate events as was seen in recent years with heavy rains and drought conditions. As a people we must realise and accept that as these changes take place in our environment we must adopt the attitude change needed to manage the challenges that may be ahead,” he advised.
“…The Central Water and Sewage Authority continues to improve to serve you better, and with a record nationwide water storage capacity of five point seven million gallons of water at our disposal,” the Minister assured.
Improvement to the water supply is taking place at the catchments at Mount Wynne, Francois and Kilbourney, “as we extend and improve line networks”, he revealed.
“The team of hardworking staff do their best to respond to the demands of a population that has grown accustomed to turning on the taps and receiving water,” Prince stated.
In keeping with the fact that water is a necessity, the CWSA is offering moratoriums which began this month promising that customers who qualify will not be disconnected.
The Minister reiterated that this agreement, which extends until June, will see a ten percent discount to customers who zero their water balances, and a five percent discount if they half their bill balance.
“Water use touches every facet of life. It goes without saying that no one can be without water and certainly during this trying period in our Vincentian history as we battle Covid-19, Dengue and an effusive eruption of the La Soufriere volcano we are even more challenged to take issues of water value seriously,” he also cautioned.
Conservation is therefore necessary, he said, and called for homes and businesses to assist the CWSA by ensuring they have adequate water storage capacity.
“Let us focus on the value of water. To you individually and as a community, as we move towards more and better solutions to improve and sustain the water sector,” Prince concluded.