JIS News

The 17th annual conference of the Caribbean Water and Wastewater Association (CWWA), concluded at the Rose Hall Resort and Country Club in Montego Bay St. James on Friday (October 10), with participants expressing satisfaction that the event achieved its objective.
President of the National Water Commission (NWC), E.G. Hunter, told JIS News, that the main focus, that of identifying new strategies for financing the development of water supply infrastructure, was satisfactorily achieved.
“As the economic conditions in the respective territories become tighter and tighter, we are now forced to examine alternate means of financing. The National Water Commission has been off the Government’s budget, certainly, for the last eight to 10 years; and so, we have had to row our own boat. In essence, we have been entirely self-sufficient, so we were able to share with our Caribbean colleagues, some of the techniques that we have been able to utilise in Jamaica, to promote the sustainability of the water sector in the country. They all found the experiences very useful. Some are controversial, particularly as it relates to impact fees … but increasingly, there was the general realisation, that if the state cannot provide the financing, then somebody else has to,” Mr. Hunter said.
The NWC President informed that the Government is currently encouraging private developers of water systems to provide supplies to the public, which he advised is a new programme.
“There are about three private water supply systems in the country, and Government’s strategy is to continue to encourage and promote this… notwithstanding, that it is very expensive. But to the extent that collection can be enforced, is to the extent that investors will make a return on the money that they put down, despite the challenges they are now facing. But they are being encouraged to continue their efforts,” Mr. Hunter pointed out.
The conference, which was held between October 5 and 10, under the theme: ‘Integrated Water Resources Management.. Developing Water Systems and Managing Waste’, saw some 300 professionals and groups from across the region, who are involved in the water and wastewater sectors, participating in high level discussions relating to financing and policy issues. Highlights of the conference were an exhibition featuring displays by 53 exhibitors, and the presentation of several awards to individuals displaying exemplary performances, and attaining outstanding achievements in the sector.
Among the recipients of awards was Managing Director of the Water Resources Authority (WRA), Basil Fernandez, who was presented with the CWWA Gold Award, for his contribution to the development of the local water sector.