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Poor urban planning hurting water distribution- Buchanan

Published:Monday | March 28, 2016 | 12:00 AM

Corporate public relations manager at the National Water Commission (NWC), Charles Buchanan has said although the state-owned water company faces many challenges with managing water distribution, poor urban planning, especially planning for housing, is a major problem which has compounded the situation for the NWC.

Speaking as a guest of the Rotary Club of Trafalgar New Heights in St Andrew recently as Rotary observes Water and Sanitation Month, Buchanan underscored that although the process of planning has improved, unplanned developments which exist now continue to pose a major challenge and, therefore, make distribution difficult.

"Jamaicans build and then say bring the water come," he explained to the group of young professional Rotarians.


water infrastructure


"How do you plan for water infrastructure, which needs a lot of lead time; when you have communities that develop without any planning approval; without any reference to why to you site a community here as opposed to putting it somewhere else," he maintained.

He said Jamaica suffers from ribbon development, where communities mushroom along new road infrastructure, unlike other countries where populations are planned around the availability of water.

"Add to that Jamaica is an extraordinarily hilly country and the vast majority of your water resources are going to be found lower down as you move towards the coast and persons are situated upstream from it," he said.

Responding to comments about water distribution made by Managing Director of the Water Resources Authority, Basil Fernandez, a week earlier at the Rotary Club, Buchanan said although Jamaica has adequate water, the resources are not evenly distributed and that it is least available in the populated parishes of St Catherine and the Corporate Area-Kingston and St Andrew, where nearly half of the country's population lives.

"Kingston does not have enough raw water to meet Kingston's needs, so on a daily basis we need somewhere from 10-20 million gallons of water to be imported into Kingston to make up for that shortfall," he said.