Improving agricultural practices to get “more crop per drop” will be Jamaica’s main focus on World Water Day, which will be observed on Thursday (March 22).
Based on the international theme: ‘Water and Food Security… the World is Hungry because it’s Thirsty’, the Water Resources Authority (WRA) will this year, examine a number of strategies to boost the water supply to the agricultural sector, in an effort to reduce the country’s dependence on imported food, says WRA Managing Director, Basil Fernandez.
Some of the strategies include: public education on water conservation, protection of watersheds, re-use of treated effluent from households and industries, improving farm water use, rainwater harvesting, and ways to improve agricultural practices to produce more crops.
Mr. Fernandez tells JIS News that as Jamaica continues to compete with the global population for food, which involves food importation, the WRA remains committed to sensitising the public about ways to lessen this trend.
“Our ability to produce sufficient food has been severely impacted by large towns and industries along the South Coast of the island,” he adds.
He further notes that some of the areas affected are major agricultural lands, which negatively impact the food industry. He says that the WRA, in collaboration with other agencies within the Ministry of Water, Land, Environment and Climate Change, will be addressing this growing issue to improve the food industry in Jamaica.
The Managing Director says the Government cannot do it alone, and is encouraging citizens to protect the resource for greater use, realising its importance to life, health and development.
“It is very important for citizens to understand the crucial role that they have to play in ensuring that we have sufficient water resources to meet our demands in the future,” Mr. Fernandez emphasises.
He suggests that some of the ways in which citizens can play their part are by resorting to conservation methods, such as installing low flush toilets and pressure shower heads, as well as turning off pipes properly.
Mr. Fernandez informs that World Water Day will provide the agency with an opportunity to educate the different stakeholders about the importance of water resources, and the need for proper management, especially with the onset of climate change, and its present and potential impacts on water resources islandwide.
The Managing Director said that the day will also be used to highlight the importance of water conservation for the benefit of the nation, through a number of activities.
The activities will include: interviews on Smile Jamaica (TVJ) and CVM at Sunrise, an outside broadcast on RJR, a walk-a-thon by the Jamaica Conservation and Development Trust (JCDT) and an exposition involving various agencies to be staged at the Mona Reservoir.
Among the supporting bodies are: the WRA, the National Water Commission (NWC), the National Irrigation Commission (NIC),Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA), Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the Ministry of Agriculture (MOA), the National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA), Caribbean Broilers, Jamaica Broilers, Jamaica Drip Irrigation, Jamaica Wells and Services Ltd., Hood Daniel Well Company, GraceKennedy Ltd., Wisynco, Catherine’s Peak and the Forestry Department.
World Water Day has been observed in Jamaica since 1993. For further details on World Water Day, persons can contact the (WRA) at 927-0077 or access their website at: www.wra.gov.jm.
By Jeneva Gordon, JIS PRO