Advertisement
JIS News

Story Highlights

  • Work on the new drainage infrastructure guidelines for the approval of building and subdivision applications, has been completed.
  • This is to prevent flooding as a result of extreme weather patterns, influenced by climate change, thereby safeguarding lives and properties.
  • The guidelines will be distributed to the various local authorities in the coming weeks.

Work on the new drainage infrastructure guidelines for the approval of building and subdivision applications, has been completed.

Development of the guidelines was undertaken by the Ministry of Transport, Works and Housing; National Works Agency (NWA); Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM) and the Water Resources Authority (WRA), in partnership with the Embassy of Japan in Jamaica, and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).

The 40-page document outlines minimum stipulated basic standards pertaining to infrastructure installations deemed imperative to facilitate the channelling of storm water away from developments.

This is to prevent flooding as a result of extreme weather patterns, influenced by climate change, thereby safeguarding lives and properties.

Developers will be required to incorporate these details in relevant plans being submitted to local planning authorities for approval, including the National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA), the Kingston and St. Andrew Corporation, and Parish Councils.

The document was formally launched by Transport, Works and Housing Minister, Dr. the Hon. Omar Davies, during a ceremony at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel, New Kingston, on June 9.

In his address, the Minister emphasised that the guidelines have been “long in coming.”

“What we have found is that there are some deficiencies (in some development submissions), particularly with regard to drainage construction and improvement. This results, in part, from engineering designs being done without proper understanding of the relationship between rainfall intensity and the level of risk involved in undertaking developments,” the Minister noted.

Dr. Davies said that, in response, the Ministry and the NWA collaborated with other partners, integral in the guidelines’ development.

“We want to ensure that a major goal of building developments is the proper infrastructural design and project planning. This, we expect, will reduce the risk of loss of life from disasters, as well as financial losses,” he said.

For his part, Local Government and Community Development Minister, Hon. Noel Arscott, said drafting of the guidelines, “represents an advancement in our efforts to build resilience (particularly) within the housing sector.”

He argued that Jamaica is “highly” vulnerable to the impact of flooding as a result of extreme weather patterns.

In this regard, the Minister underscored the need to undertake “sustained efforts” to reduce the level of disaster risk to the population, “while simultaneously securing the investments of persons who buy or build houses in new development areas.”

Mr. Arscott said the need to balance development with disaster risk management imperatives “has become more relevant,” and that “what is practised now does not adequately account for all factors influencing storm water run offs at proposed developments.”

The long-term implications, he added, could increase disaster risks, while noting the timeliness of the guidelines’ launch, at the start of the Atlantic hurricane season.

The Minister cited the “critical role” which the local authorities will have to play in ensuring that developers adhere to the stipulations of the new guidelines.

“They (local authorities) are the first point of interface, and represent the entry point of new developments entering the approval chain. I am confident of their abilities to ensure that the proper guidelines are observed at all times,” Mr. Arscott said.

The new guidelines were also endorsed by Minister with responsibility for Housing, Hon. Dr. Morais Guy; WRA Managing Director, Basil Fernandez; Charge d’Affaires, Japanese Embassy in Jamaica, Hiromoto Oyama; and JICA Resident Representative in Jamaica, Kenji Tobita.

The guidelines will be distributed to the various local authorities in the coming weeks.