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Story Highlights

  • With more than 280 water catchment tanks of varying capacity levels located in rural districts across the island, a programme is in place to carry out repairs to these tanks where needed.
  • Rainwater harvesting is an effective means of ensuring a steady water supply, adding that water availability ensures life, dignity and sustainable development.
  • The clear benefits of access to potable water will not only include an improvement in quality of life for many citizens of Jamaica, but will also, more importantly, create the environment for improved health, sanitation, and overall development of the communities.

The Ministry of Water, Land, Environment and Climate Change is aiming for Jamaica to have universal access to  potable water by 2030 and is advocating rainwater harvesting as a means of achieving this goal.

With more than 280 water catchment tanks of varying capacity levels located in rural districts across the island, Portfolio Minister, Hon. Robert Pickersgill, says that a programme is in place to carry out repairs to these tanks where needed.

Deep rural Jamaica poses the greatest difficulty in achieving the goal of universal access, but the Minister noted that the National Water Commission (NWC), and Rural Water Supply Limited (RWSL), two agencies within his ministry, are committed to the task.

He pointed out that rainwater harvesting is an effective means of ensuring a steady water supply, adding that water availability ensures life, dignity and sustainable development.

Minister Pickersgill was addressing a contract signing and ground breaking ceremony for two water distribution projects in Cedar Valley, Westmoreland, on Friday (January 10), where he outlined the projected work that will take place in that part of the parish under the programme.

The Minister informed that there are some 24 concrete catchment tanks in Eastern Westmoreland serving a population of approximately 23,000 persons. “Our agency, Rural Water Supply Limited, is currently carrying out investigations with a view to effecting rehabilitation works during the current financial year,” he told residents.

The Minister also noted that six tanks in three parish council divisions in Eastern Westmoreland have been prioritized for attention.

“In addition, Rural Water Supply Limited has completed rainwater harvesting projects in Ashton, Belvedere and Berkshire in the parish, totaling $6 million,” Minister Pickersgill informed.

Meanwhile, Chairman RWSL, John P White, stated that his organization has embarked on a programme with the NWC, which will see the implementation of approximately 26 projects, which when completed will provide an additional population of 250,000 persons across Jamaica with potable water.

“This will increase rural water supply coverage in terms of access to potable water by approximately 20 per cent.  The clear benefits of access to potable water will not only include an improvement in quality of life for many citizens of Jamaica, but will also, more importantly, create the environment for improved health, sanitation, and overall development of the communities,” he emphasized.