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Prime Minister's Address on Water - May 28, 2001

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MONDAY 28th MAY 2001

Good evening to all. The heavy showers during the past weekend must have brought hope for the end of this long dry season. But in spite of the welcome sight of water flowing through drains, the present situation is far from over.

Our usually lush green island of St. Lucia has been experiencing an unusual prolonged dry spell since January this year. Many hillsides in the north and eastern sections of the island have become brown; the vegetation has thinned, revealing views of communities and backyards, which we rarely ever see as we walk hurriedly onto work, or as we drive to and from our daily engagements. Some livestock farmers, particularly in the south of the island have lost their cattle. This drought has already seriously affected banana production. This situation is serious. Although there was a brief period of showers during the month of March, the situation has continued.

Tout moun dwe ka di mesi bondye pou ti lapli-a ki tonbe samdi ek dimanch pase. Me lendi matin, le nou wive twavay, se mem shale-a, mem titak glo-a, ek mem sitiwasyon evek se sous glo nou. Yo sek, ek si nou pa pwan pokosyon yo kay sheshe.

As a result of this dry spell, the country’s reserves of water have been severely depleted. There is less water in all our dams. The Water and Sewage Company Inc. (WASCO) has implemented a series of measures over the last few months to conserve our dwindling resources. However, in the absence of rain, we must now step up our conservation measures. Some of us living in the higher elevations are already experiencing serious hardships and regular shortages of water. Residents of South Castries, the high elevations in the north including Babonneau, East Castries and its environs, Pierrot in Vieux Fort and Mabouya Valley in Dennery are particularly hard hit by the water shortages resulting from this long dry spell.

In ni do twa plas ki ka jwenn glo toujou. Me sa pa pyes wezon pou gaspiye glo. Katjile I ni komin an Vieux-Fort, Castries, ek Bouton ki pa ka jwenn glo souvan. An Dennery adan se komin la ka jwen glo pou de neditan selman adan yon jou. Ek mwen asiwe I ni lot plas ki ka soufe.

In the north of the island, the Anse-la-Raye and Canaries intakes are still providing normal flows, but the production at the other intakes have all decreased. In some cases WASCO is only able to distribute half of the usual supply to these communities. For example the Millet and Tete Chemin intakes have all completely dried up. The Talvern, Marquis and gravity sources that supply the Hill 20 Water Treatment Plant are now supplying twenty percent, or one-fifth of normal supply. It is estimated that the John Compton Dam has an average of twenty-eight days supply given the current consumption patterns. If the dry season continues for the next month the John Compton Dam may not be able to supply us with any water.

In the south of the island, the Delcer and Lower Saltibus systems are still providing normal flows. The Diamond system in Soufriere and the Vieux Fort systems all continue to perform well. However, the other systems have registered drops in production ranging from 40% to 100%. The Bouton system is completely dry and the Denierre Rivierre, Aux Lyon and Dennery systems all provide water for approximately two (2) hours in a twenty-four (24) hour period.

Currently, WASCO is rationing the water supply and in some cases there has been of extensive cutbacks, including cutback of approximately 70% of the hotels’ normal supplies. The company has been trucking water to the areas worse hit. This rationing programme will need to be intensified in the coming weeks. However, these measures will only go so far. There is a need for us to reduce our consumption and change the ways we normally use water. We will need to exercise measures at home, at work and in our communities that will allow maximum use of our limited water resources. More detailed information will be made available through the media.

The Water and Sewerage Company will be showing some short programmes on television over the next few days on ways in which the company is attempting to provide services in an efficient manner. These programmes will be broadcast on HTS, DBS and on Cablevision Channel Two where the Government Information Service is now carrying out tests before launching daily broadcasts in the next few weeks.

Koute asou radio ek gade telivisyon pou se konsey la WASCO kay bay an se jou pwochain-an. Nou ka mande’w, pa gaspiye glo, ek pou pwan pasyan. WASCO ka fe sa yo pe po wanje sitiwasyon-an. Mwen kwe tou moun sav, nou sa viv san kouwan, san telefon, me nou pasa viv san glo. Glo se lavi.

I encourage all St. Lucian to watch the programmes and continue making your own suggestions to WASCO on the ways in which we can together best use our limited water supply efficiently.

I urge all St. Lucians to act responsibly and to do all within your power to conserve our water supply, so that we can get safely to the end of this dry spell. While there is the need for all of us to keep our plants healthy, and to keep our cars clean, this should not be done at the expense of the lives of the majority of St. Lucians. We cannot live without water. The WASCO has continuously asked all St. Lucians not to water lawns, not to wash vehicles with hoses and to generally always ensure that our taps and pipes are not leaking. Please take heed, for every pint of water we save, we may just be saving the life of someone.

Remember water is life.

Thank you and have a restful night.


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