Gov’t Committed to Expanding Irrigation Systems across the Island

Photo: Michael Sloley Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, Hon. Dr. Horace Chang (left) looks on as first-place winner of the Ministry’s Poster Competition, Shamary Davis (centre) of Port Morant Primary and Junior High, accepts his laptop award from Vinci Construction Managing Director, Timothee Delebarre. This was at an exhibition hosted by the Ministry to observe World Water Day, at the Girl Guides Association headquarters in St. Andrew on March 22.

Story Highlights

  • Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, Hon. Dr Horace Chang, says the Government is committed to the introduction of more irrigation systems across the island for the benefit of small farmers.
  • “The farmers have demonstrated that… irrigation water will increase their production and productivity tremendously and contribute to growth, which will bring increased wealth and prosperity to rural Jamaica,” he said.
  • It was held under the theme ‘Nature for Water: Exploring Nature-Based Solutions to the Water Challenges we face in the 21st century’.

Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, Hon. Dr Horace Chang, says the Government is committed to the introduction of more irrigation systems across the island for the benefit of small farmers.

He acknowledged that there are several such systems already in place, highlighting that the Essex Valley irrigation system is currently being expanded.

“The farmers have demonstrated that… irrigation water will increase their production and productivity tremendously and contribute to growth, which will bring increased wealth and prosperity to rural Jamaica,” he said.

Dr Chang was delivering the keynote address at the Ministry’s observation of World Water Day, at an event held at the Girl Guides Headquarters in St. Andrew on March 22.

It was held under the theme ‘Nature for Water: Exploring Nature-Based Solutions to the Water Challenges we face in the 21st century’.

On another matter, the Minister said the Government will continue with its efforts to address the issue of non-revenue water loss suffered by the National Water Commission by upgrading water metres across urban and rural centres.

“The NWC signed a contract (last December) to install over 450,000 cold-water metres across the supply system to tackle the loss of billable water,” Dr. Chang said.

“We have a major contract with an NGO dealing with non-revenue water. This represents the Government’s major efforts to put action behind the plans and policies concerning sustainable development,” he added.

Dr. Chang also informed that the Water Resources Authority (WRA) recently instituted a volume-based fee to encourage the efficient use of the country’s water resources.

“These changes, we know, will result in a better quality of service in the sector overall,” he noted.

Meanwhile, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Audrey Sewell, said the theme for World Water Day “speaks to the need for us to recognise that our precious water resources are not infinite and that we must do our part to conserve and preserve what we have or we run the risk of a very dry future”.

“The availability of water plays a significant part in the ability of people to care for their families and earn a living. As such, access to clean, safe potable water is essential if a country is to achieve economic and social development. It is critical in the fight against poverty, hunger and diseases,” she said.

Mrs. Sewell informed that Jamaica’s water quality is held in high regard by locals and visitors, not only because of the generally good quality of our rivers and streams, but because of the careful treatment it undergoes before distribution.

During the event, schools were recognised and awarded for their participation in the Ministry’s Poster Competition, which ran from January to March of this year.

Sixty-four schools participated in the competition, with the primary department of Port Morant Primary and Junior High School in St. Thomas receiving first place in the Primary School segment of the competition. Guy’s Hill High School in St. Catherine was placed first in the Secondary School category.

The NWC also awarded winners in their Photo and Essay competitions, which ended in March.

In the Photo Competition: first place was awarded to Odain Doneghan, second place to Jonathan Kirkaldey, and third place to Chevanne Rhoden.

In the 9-12 age group category of the essay section of the competition, Janelle Ellis of Praise Tabernacle Christian Academy was awarded first-place winner. For the 13-16 age group category, first place went to Tommelio Senior of William Knibb High School in Trelawny.

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