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Government gets busy, aims to prevent drought crisis

Published:Wednesday | February 18, 2015 | 7:48 AM

With an extended dry spell projected for 2015, the Government is moving to prevent a recurrence of last year’s devastating impact of drought on the economy.

Jamaica paid dearly in 2014, which was the hottest year on record, with schools coming under threat of closure because of the water shortage and the Government spending at least $50 million trucking water to affected communities.

However, Environment Minister Robert Pickersgill says this time around, the administration is being proactive with a tank and pump programme.

Under the national tank and pump programme, the Government will also seek to repair and put back into commission more than 800 public tanks owned and operated by the parish councils and National Water Commission (NWC).

Privately owned tanks, as well as public catchment and wayside tanks, are also targeted under a major rainwater-harvesting plan to increase the volume of water captured and retained to offset the impact of any extended dry spell.

Pickersgill says the Government is committed to helping owners of private catchment facilities to get them back in working condition in the national interest.

Another option being explored by the Government to help ease further water shortages is the purification of water from the sewage that goes to the Soapberry Sewage Treatment Plant, located in Ferry, St Catherine.