Wed | Jan 16, 2019

J'cans urged to conserve as drought continues

Published:Monday | August 6, 2018 | 12:00 AM
After this hydrant was opened on North Street in Kingston, this man took the opportunity to fill up his bottles. Much of the island is currently experiencing drought conditions.

With some parishes across the island already experiencing drought and others forecasted to be affected up to September, Jamaicans are being urged to conserve water and implement measures that will assist in saving the precious commodity.

The JN Foundation, through its Water Project, is encouraging Jamaicans to make necessary changes to help save water. These include the use of general conservation practices as well as considering the installation of water-saving devices such as high-efficiency showerheads, low-flush toilets, kitchen and bathroom aerators.

The water project's encouragement is timely, given that the Meteorological Service of Jamaica has issued a drought alert for sections of St Catherine, Clarendon and Portland, and has noted that during the period July to September, forecasts are indicating a high possibility of warmer-than-normal temperatures and below-normal rainfall.

Onyka Barrett Scott, acting general manager of the JN Foundation, which manages the Water Project, said that given the drought situation it would be prudent for everyone to implement practical measures, such as seeking to use less water and inspecting all pipes, toilets and faucets for leaks.

"Replace inefficient fixtures with water-saving devices, which are either WaterSense labelled, or use 20-25 per cent less water than standard units," Barrett Scott said.

According to the National Water Commission, water-consumption at home can be reduced by as much as 30 per cent by using proper water-saving devices and good conservation practices.

Barrett Scott said that through the four-year water project, JN Bank and JN Foundation will collaborate with the Inter-American Development Bank and the Pilot Programme for Climate Resilience to assist Jamaicans to adapt to climate change, and implement measures that will result in more efficient use of water.

"The Water Project Jamaica focuses on the important role that householders and real estate developers can and should play, through the adaption of water-efficiency technologies which can help us better manage our use of water," she said.

The project seeks to raise awareness about the threats of climate change; and, also build local capacity to design and install water adaptation measures; to foster entrepreneurship and local innovation, as well as to provide loans to implement new technologies. The loan component of the project is scheduled to come on stream in the latter quarter of 2018.