According to the respective Water Departments in St. Kitts and Nevis, the current water supply is sufficient to meet current water demands on both islands. However, the future of the water supply is threatened by multiple factors, including:
- Increasing demand by tourist and residential populations.
- Projected periods of drought and decreases in rainfall leading to decreased groundwater recharge.
- Salinization of coastal aquifers caused by sea level rise and over-abstraction to meet high demands.
- Hurricane activity which can impact on water infrastructure and cause storm surges which can damage and contaminate aquifers.
- Increased turbidity levels following heavy precipitation and flooding, exacerbated by unregulated building and road construction on steep slopes which increases erosion.
Nevis’ water supply is more at risk to the effects of climate change than that of St. Kitts, as the island already receives significantly less rainfall than St. Kitts. Additionally, Nevis has no natural reservoirs and significant springs are absent. Finally, the prominence of a layer of silica pan covered with a layer of clayey soils on the island hinders water infiltration. In recent times, and owing to development pressures, both islands are increasingly relying on groundwater reserves to supply potable water. In light of this, and since surface water flows such as the water supplied by springs and ghauts are highly variable and are insufficient to meet the current demands during most of the year, adaptation strategies should focus on conserving groundwater reserves and protecting them from contamination.
This section provides insights into projected climate change impacts on various hydrological indicators.