Wed | Jun 20, 2018

Water resource management critical to development

Published:Monday | December 24, 2012 | 12:00 AM
In perspective, a section of the 18th-century brick and cut-stone aqueduct that transported water from Hope River to the Mona Estate sugar works. - Paul Williams/Gleaner Writer
An empty tap - File
Water trickles into the National Water Commission (NWC) catchment on Gordon Town road in St Andrew. - Norman Grindley/Chief Photographer
In this September 2010 photo, this was the only pipe in the Bedward Gardens community, St Andrew with water. - Ian Allen/Photographer


Jamaica continues to celebrate 50 years of Independence. We have achieved a lot. However, there is much work left to be done if we are to progress as a country. We must begin to tackle Jamaica's chronic problems in a targeted and sustained way to make this country a better place to live, work and grow families. The Next 50 Years, a special Gleaner series, will spotlight some of the challenges we must fix in the coming years. We want to hear from you. Email us at and join the debate.

Water resource

JAMAICA'S INDEPENDENCE period may be considered to be the most important phase in the understanding of Jamaica's water resources.

This phase was marked by the introduction of legislation to control well-drilling and the resultant problem of saline intrusion into the limestone aquifers of the Clarendon and St Catherine Plains.

Drafted in 1959, 'The Underground Water Control Law' was passed into law in 1961. The law functioned as the main instrument of water resources management.

The law required the establishment of the Underground Water Authority within the Ministry of Agriculture.

The authority was mandated to implement the law and issued licences to drill wells and abstract water.

Much has been done since the completion of the Water Resources Development Master Plan report.

In 1995, the Water Resources Act (WRA) was passed by both houses of Parliament.

Between 1997 and 2012, the WRA was revamped to modernise the agency to fulfil the mandate of the WRA.

The WRA has now put in place the planning for further evolution of the management of water resources.

The management of the island's water resources will become critical in the near future with the full onset of the impacts of climate change.