Mon | Dec 6, 2021

Seaga understood the importance of water

Published:Tuesday | June 4, 2019 | 12:00 AM


The systematic assessment of the island’s water resources was initiated by the Most Hon Edward Seaga in the 1960s, who, in his capacity as minister of development, approached the United Nations Development Programme and the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization to fund a study of the island’s water resources.

The project first started in the Black River Basin (St Elizabeth) from 1965-1968, followed by the Martha Brae Basin (Trelawny), Montego River Basin (Montego Bay), Rio Minho Basin (Clarendon), Rio Cobre Basin (St Catherine), Bull Savannah, Moneague and Negril.

Several reports on the island’s water resources, economics of water and other aspects of the studies are available today and form the basis for the present understanding of the island’s water resources. The project, then under the supervision of the Geological Survey Department, led to the training of several Jamaicans (including myself) in hydrology and hydrogeology at the University of Arizona Tucson, the University College London, and the United States Geological Survey Water Resources Training School in Colorado. These persons later staffed the Water Resources Division, formed after the project ended, and was the forerunner of the now Water Resources Authority.

Apart from the many reports of the basins stated above, two other important documents can be attributed to the water resources project. These are the National Water Resources Development Master Plan and the Water Resources Act.

Mr Seaga understood the importance of water to national development and ensured that information was available to sustainably guide the development of this finite resource.



Former Managing Director, Water Resources Authority