Mon | Jul 6, 2020

Earth Today | 250 communal rainwater systems for upper Clarendon

Published:Thursday | March 26, 2020 | 12:23 AM
A group of residents converge before black tanks in their community.
A group of residents converge before black tanks in their community.

MORE THAN 30 communities in the Upper Rio Minho Watershed (URMW) area of Clarendon are to receive 250 rainwater systems to help boost their response to drought and ensure greater water security for their communities.

The rainwater systems will be mainly distributed to schools, clinics, churches and other essential facilities that serve the communities. The systems are being provided by the Adaptation Programme and Financing Mechanism (AP&FM) for the Pilot Programme for Climate Resilience (PPCR). It is part of a set of activities that the AP&FM is implementing in the URMW to preserve the watershed, which is responsible for 40 per cent of the water supply to the parishes in Middlesex.

“The need for the communal rainwater systems was identified through a consultative process a few years ago when Jamaica’s Strategic Programme for Climate Resilience was being developed. It was among a set of measures recommended to halt the decline of the URMW area,” said Dr Winsome Townsend, project manager for the AP&FM.

Other measures include:

- rehabilitation of 2 rainwater ponds;

- 25 hectares of agro-forestry;

- 15 hectares of reforestation;

- Vulnerability assessment of and preparation of an Adaptation Plan for the entire Rio Minho Watershed; as well as :

- preparation of climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction plans for the 15 most at-risk communities in the area.

“We are happy that we are now in the communities – working with the schools, health centres and churches, etc, to assign the rainwater systems. It means that these premises should be better able to manage drought and to better fulfil the role of emergency centres in the aftermath of a disaster,” said Townsend.

Since 2014, droughts have cost the Government at least J$1 billion to help farmers cope and recover. Clarendon has been one of the parishes experiencing extremely long periods of drought. The AP&FM programme will help ensure that there is increased water security in the communities through the restoration of the URMW.

The AP&FM is a part of Jamaica’s PPCR. It works to help Jamaica adjust more easily to climate change. It supports the integration of climate-change issues into development planning by government agencies. It is being implemented by the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation and is funded by the Climate Investment Fund through the Inter-American Development Bank and the Government of Jamaica.