Establish water efficiency standards – Kwame Emmanuel
A water resources management expert is encouraging the Government to establish water efficiency standards, which he projects will save the country millions of dollars in the long term.
Dr Kwame Emmanuel, associate lecturer in Water Resources Management at The University of the West Indies, Mona, and project manager for The Water Project, made the recommendation recently.
"Currently, Jamaica does not have water use efficiency standards for flow rates, that is, gallons per minute or gallons per flush. Therefore, there is no measure to grade the efficiency of devices such as: faucets, aerators, showerheads and toilets," Dr Emmanuel said.
He was speaking during World Water Day activities at the Girl Guides Association of Jamaica headquarters in St Andrew.
The Water Project is being implemented with funding from the pilot programme for climate resilience and the Inter-American Development Bank.
He said if standards were implemented, more persons would be encouraged to use water efficiency devices to save water. "These standards can be by way of legislation, but the first thing to do is to start with public education," he added.
Dr Emmanuel said The Water Project is aimed at facilitating the uptake of water adaptation measures in the Jamaican housing sector, increase climate resilience housing, and enhance Jamaica's water security.
He explained that the specific objectives of the project are to promote efficiency, resilience and security, and said "we will be doing this through a loan facility, where we will on-lend funds through JN Bank for the integration of water adaptation measures in the Jamaican housing sector; and provide technical assistance through capacity building, entrepreneurship and awareness raising."
Dr Horace Chang, the then minister in charge of water, who spoke at the World Water Day event, underscored the importance of the efficient use of the country's water supply.
"We see the efficiency of our water supply system as a key aspect of development and economic growth, especially when one considers our farmers who rely on an efficient system of irrigated water to cultivate crops for our local and international markets. The importance of an efficient system becomes not only a water issue, but an issue of trade and local sustainability," he pointed out.
Dr Chang added that currently, water for irrigation accounts for one-third of the water abstracted and used on an annual basis.
World Water Day activities included the mounting of displays, and the delivery of presentations by The Water Project and other partners, such as The Water Resources Authority, the National Water Commission, the Forestry Department, and the National Environment and Planning Agency.