In light of the prevailing drought affecting most parishes, farmers islandwide are being urged to utilize the National Irrigation Commission’s (NIC) water systems to irrigate their crops, instead of the National Water Commission’s (NWC) resources, which are dedicated for domestic and personal use.
This call comes from Water, Land, Environment and Climate Change Minister, Hon. Robert Pickersgill, who says reports indicate a worsening of the drought since its onset in January. He adds that projections suggest it will continue until the end of April.
In this regard, the Minister urged farmers to utilize the NIC’s facilities, several of which have been significantly improved by the agency.
The latest of these is New Forest/Duff House irrigation system in south Manchester, which was commissioned into service recently by Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Portia Simpson Miller. This facility will serve some 497 farmers.
“Farmers, who normally extract water from the NWC main, (which goes) up to Junction (St. Elizabeth) for agricultural purposes, can now connect into this irrigation scheme and allow householders to get the water (provided by the NWC),” he told JIS News following the commissioning ceremony.
The Water Minister also urged the farmers to “make the necessary and appropriate arrangements” with the NIC to provide water for their farms.
Mr. Pickersgill said the NWC has been instructed to repair leaks identified in their systems “as quickly possible” to ensure maximum output, while underscoring the need for water conservation.
By Rodger Hutchinson, JIS Reporter