JIS News

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  • Minister of Water, Land, Environment and Climate Change, Hon. Robert Pickersgill, says given the critical importance of fresh water supplies, the Ministry and its agencies will continue to take the necessary steps to ensure that the island’s fresh water sources are not compromised.
  • He also said that the ability to supply and distribute fresh water to Jamaicans is a crucial and integral part of the process, which will be maintained.
  • Mr. Pickersgill pointed out that rainwater harvesting and water storage capacity are key components of the revised water sector policy.

Minister of Water, Land, Environment and Climate Change, Hon. Robert Pickersgill, says given the critical importance of fresh water supplies, the Ministry and its agencies will continue to take the necessary steps to ensure that the island’s fresh water sources are not compromised.

He also said that the ability to supply and distribute fresh water to Jamaicans is a crucial and integral part of the process, which will be maintained.

The Minister was speaking at the first in a series of public consultations in preparation for the 2015 Paris Climate Change Conference (COP 21), at the Tarrant Baptist Church, in Kingston, on August 22. COP 21 will be held in Paris, France from November 30 to December 11, 2015.

“We are laying the policy framework by revising the Jamaica Water Sector Policy Strategies and Action Plans 2004, as well as the development of a Rural Water Supply Development Strategy, with the aim of identifying gaps and assisting the Government with meeting the Vision 2030 goals for the water sector, while preparing for the potential impacts of climate change,” he explained.

The Minister said the Government will be implementing the necessary plans and projects, which will ensure the sustainability of the water supply, “as there can be no development without this vital and necessary resource.”

Mr. Pickersgill pointed out that rainwater harvesting and water storage capacity are key components of the revised water sector policy.

“I have repeatedly said that we must re-embrace rainwater harvesting, as it is the only way that we will safeguard our supplies of water now and for the future,” he said, adding that Jamaica is currently in the throes of one of the worst droughts in recent history.

He informed that approximately $100 million has been spent to rehabilitate public tanks. “I can tell you that after the next good season of rain, that will help to solve our water problem,” he said.

Outlining some of the benefits of rainwater harvesting, he said it decreases the demand on the public water supply systems, and saves money on water bills. “It also reduces flooding and erosion. It reduces the contamination of surface water with sediments, fertilizers and pesticides from rainwater run-off, resulting in cleaner rivers and a cleaner sea,” the Minister noted.

Mr. Pickersgill said that climate change can impact water security  and  rising sea levels; threaten  marine and aquatic life,  natural resources, including forest and wildlife;  food security, and  can result in  stronger storms and  rising temperatures.

The public consultations, which will be held under the theme: ‘Natural Disasters, Water, Drought, Food, Decision Time on Climate Change’, are being undertaken by the Ministry, in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

Similar meetings will be held in Mandeville and Montego Bay on September 16 and 17, respectively.