Minister Pickersgill Appeals for More Rainwater Harvesting

Photo: JIS Photographer Minister of Water, Land, Environment and Climate Change, Hon. Robert Pickersgill (left), cuts the ribbon to a solar system, to be used for operating the Pleasant Valley Water Catchment Facility in Clarendon, during the handing over of the facility on November 6. Others sharing in the occasion are: Programme Manager for the Environmental Foundation of Jamaica, Allison Rangolan-McFarlane (2nd left); Resident Representative for the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Jamaica, Dr. Arun Kashyap (2nd right); and National Coordinator for the Global Environment Facility Small Grants Programme (GEF SGP), Hyacinth Douglass (right).

Story Highlights

  • Rainwater harvesting is especially important for areas that experience irregular supply from the public system.
  • Rainwater systems are easy to install and maintain and operating costs are minimal.
  • Having such facility in place reduces the demand on the public water supply infrastructure, saves on water bills, and helps in the mitigation of flooding.

Minister of Water, Land, Environment and Climate Change, Hon. Robert Pickersgill, has renewed his appeal for more Jamaicans to harvest rainwater for domestic use.

The Minister, who was addressing the official handing over of the Pleasant Valley Water Catchment Facility in Clarendon on November 6, said that rainwater harvesting is especially important for areas that experience irregular supply from the public system.

He said that rainwater systems are easy to install and maintain and operating costs are minimal. He argued further that having such facility in place reduces the demand on the public water supply infrastructure, saves on water bills, and helps in the mitigation of flooding.

“Harvesting rain water gives us total control over our water supply. It is ideal for areas with severe water shortages and restrictions. It promotes self-sufficiency and helps to conserve water and it use,” he stated.

Minister Pickersgill said the Government is looking to strengthen its policy, which requires persons undertaking development to provide their own domestic water where there is no connection to a central water system.

He said the aim is to “make it mandatory for all developments to make allowances for rainwater harvesting, either above or below ground, whether they are connected to the central water supply system or not. Small scale storage at the household level, decentralized harvesting and storage of rainfall are some of the components of this new rainwater harvesting policy,” he stated.

The Minister welcomed the Pleasant Valley system, which will serve some 1,500 residents, including farmers, noting that the project must be emulated by other communities.

“I am happy to see that Pleasant Valley has returned to what I consider to be one of the oldest and most effective means of ensuring a steady water supply, particularly for drought-plagued areas,” he stated.

Meanwhile, Minister Pickersgill said that the programme for the rehabilitation of some 282 community catchment tanks is ongoing.

Some 37 tanks have already been repaired, and the Government is “moving swiftly to repair and rehabilitate the remainder,” he stated. The preliminary estimate for the works is approximately $250 million.

The development of the Pleasant Valley rainwater harvesting system was made possible through a partnership involving the Clarendon Parish Development Committee Benevolent Society, the Pleasant Valley Development Committee, the Clarendon Parish Council, Jamalco, the Environmental Foundation of Jamaica, and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), through the Global Environment Facility Small Grants Programme (GEF SGP).

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