Mon | Jun 24, 2019

Government advancing drought mitigation plan

Published:Friday | April 19, 2019 | 10:55 AM
Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, Senator Pearnel Charles Jr., addressing the Red Stripe Water Stewardship Knowledge Forum on April 17, 2019, at The Knutsford Court Hotel in Kingston - Contributed photo

The Government is advancing plans to combat the effects of drought, particularly in vulnerable communities.

The interventions are intended to ensure an effective monitoring programme is in place and facilitate the development of long-term plans to address the issue.

Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, Senator Pearnel Charles Jr., has emphasised that “water sustainability is at the core of national development."

“Therefore, significant consideration must be given to protecting our environment so that future generations can have access to this commodity,” he added.

He was speaking at the Red Stripe Water Stewardship Knowledge Forum held on April 17 at The Knutsford Court Hotel in New Kingston, under the theme ‘Every Drop: Water, Sustainability and Industry’. 

Noting that Jamaica’s water sector is susceptible to multiple risks associated with climate change and variables such as hurricanes and drought, Charles said agencies such as the National Water Commission (NWC) and Water Resources Authority (WRA) have been working tirelessly to protect and manage the distribution of the amenity. 

Accordingly, the Authority has implemented strategies to ensure that water abstraction licence holders adhere to the conditions of their permits.

“This is effective in reducing the likelihood of saline intrusion, which will compromise water sources,” Charles said.

Saline intrusion refers to the movement of saltwater into freshwater aquifers, which can lead to contamination of drinking water sources, among other things.

Charles further noted the Authority recently imposed volume-based fees to encourage conservation and increase efficiency among water users. 

Another initiative of the Authority is the Managed Artificial Recharge Project in Innswood, St Catherine, which channels excess water from the Rio Cobre into the aquifers. 

This initiative will increase and improve water quantity and quality in the lower Rio Cobre Basin. 

Additionally, the NWC has embarked on the Kingston and St Andrew Non-Revenue Water Reduction Co-Management Programme at a cost of US$42.5 million.

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