JIS News

Story Highlights

  • More than $20 million has been allocated to Members of Parliament and local representatives in drought-affected parishes in western Jamaica.
  • Hanover, St. James, Westmoreland, St. Elizabeth and parts of Trelawny and St. Catherine, are being affected by drought conditions.
  • Every parish council across the island has been allocated funds for the trucking of water.

More than $20 million has been allocated to Members of Parliament and local representatives in drought-affected parishes in western Jamaica for the trucking of water to communities.

This was disclosed by Minister of State in the Ministry of Water, Land, Environment and Climate Change (WLECC), Hon. Ian Hayles, at the recent meeting of a drought committee convened by the Ministry to discuss mitigation strategies.

Mr. Hayles told JIS News that reports from the Meteorological Service indicate that Hanover, St. James, Westmoreland, St. Elizabeth and parts of Trelawny and St. Catherine, are still being affected by drought conditions brought on by the annual dry period, which runs from January to the end of March.

He said that the committee has been meeting to ensure that critically affected areas of each parish are identified and water is trucked to these communities to meet the needs of residents.

According to the State Minister, a schedule is worked out to have supplies “reach residents sooner rather than later”.

Mr. Hayles said that while the western parishes continue to be the worst affected by the drought conditions, every parish council across the island has been allocated funds for the trucking of water.

He is advising citizens experiencing difficulties in accessing potable water to contact their local representative or the Parish Council to find out the delivery schedule for their area.

Meanwhile, some $40 million has already been spent to repair and improve over 50 water tanks island-wide.

In 2013, the National Water Commission (NWC) spent more than $160 million to truck water to communities affected by drought conditions.

This year 2014, the NWC will be developing and upgrading certain strategies such as having loading bays within the drought-prone areas to see how best to work with affected communities and reduce the time used to deliver the water.

Mr. Hayles is advising residents not to engage in wasteful practices. He is also encouraging residents to harvest rainwater.