Wed | Nov 21, 2018

Jamaica, the land of wood and little water! - Samuda laments poor infrastructure

Published:Friday | August 17, 2018 | 12:00 AMJason Cross/Gleaner Writer
Karl Samuda,(second right) minister without portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation chat with from left Vincent Sweeney, past vice president of CWWA; Mark Barnet, acting president of NWC and chairpersons for the CWWA local organizing committee and Doreen Prendergast, conference planning Committee co-chair at the official media launch of the CWWA'S 27th Conference and Exhibition at Office of the Prime Minister on Wednesday.

Jamaica receives high volumes of rainfall at various periods annually, but Karl Samuda, minister without portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, has lamented that many parts of the island continue to experience water shortages.

Speaking on Wednesday at the Office of the Prime Minister during the launch of the Caribbean Water and Wastewater Association's (CWWA) 27th Annual Conference and Exhibition scheduled for October 8-12 in Montego Bay St James, Samuda identified the cause of water shortages to be the lack of proper infrastructure to trap, treat, and distribute water islandwide.

"There are many who say that if there is a next Word War, it will be a fight over water. The one thing that we cannot live without is water, and it is being rapidly depleted because of the [poor] management of the infrastructure.

"Every time there is heavy rainfall and millions of gallons of water fall on land, a vast majority of it goes to the sea. We say we are the land of wood and water, but how can that be when we do not have enough water to satisfy the needs of farmers?" Samuda lamented. "It is critical for us to find strategies to harvest water. It doesn't make sense to repair all roads in Jamaica without good water infrastructure underneath," he added.

He pointed out that water problems were not unique to Jamaica and explained that the conference was an important avenue for collectively working on necessary strategies in making good policies that would enable member states of the CWWA to support the notion that everyone in the region must have access to running water.

The CWWA is a regional non-governmental organisation representing water, wastewater, and solid waste professionals, practitioners, and enterprises in both the private and public sectors throughout the Caribbean. The CWWA's aim is to positively influence advancement of these sectors in all countries in the region.

jason.cross@gleanerjm.com