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  • Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, Senator the Hon. Pearnel Charles Jr., says the Government is working to ensure that water supply systems are properly maintained in order to improve service to citizens.
  • The objective, he said, is to eliminate the need to truck water to communities, which has proven to be expensive and unsustainable, noting that more long-term-solutions are being sought.
  • “In the short-term, we will have to do what is necessary to get water to the communities even if it means trucking, but the goal for us has to be to develop the systems, extend the pipelines, put in place the catchment, put in place the necessary minor repairs to the systems, so that we alleviate and circumvent any need for trucking,” Minister Charles Jr. said.

Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, Senator the Hon. Pearnel Charles Jr., says the Government is working to ensure that water supply systems are properly maintained in order to improve service to citizens.

The objective, he said, is to eliminate the need to truck water to communities, which has proven to be expensive and unsustainable, noting that more long-term-solutions are being sought.

“In the short-term, we will have to do what is necessary to get water to the communities even if it means trucking, but the goal for us has to be to develop the systems, extend the pipelines, put in place the catchment, put in place the necessary minor repairs to the systems, so that we alleviate and circumvent any need for trucking,” Minister Charles Jr. said.

He was addressing a meeting at his New Kingston offices on Tuesday (July 16) with representatives from the West Rural and East Rural St. Andrew constituencies and water industry stakeholders to discuss some of the challenges and arrive at solutions.

Senator Charles Jr. argued that lack of proper maintenance has caused systems to fall into disrepair a year or two after they go into operation.

He is urging the National Water Commission (NWC) to identify pumping stations, treatment plants and systems deemed in need of maintenance.

“We are willing, at the Ministry, to aggressively support that. Whatever funds have been put towards emergency crisis, we want to divert some of those funds to assist, if necessary, to repairing and putting in place the systems that will be more permanent,” he said.

Senator Charles Jr. said the Administration is committed to delivering water to Jamaicans in a better, more sustainable way.

“We have to find and identify sufficient sources; we have to lay our pipes properly; we have to make sure that we maintain our systems; we have to make sure that nobody is breaching our systems; we have to make sure that we are keeping the contamination away from our systems. All of that comes into play in integrated water resource management,” he noted.

In the meantime, Member of Parliament for St. Andrew West Rural, Juliet Cuthbert-Flynn, highlighted some of the water-related challenges being faced by residents in her constituency and suggested the installation of catchment tanks in all communities as a solution.

Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, Senator the Hon. Pearnel Charles Jr. (centre), listens to concerns being raised by Member of Parliament for West Rural St. Andrew, Juliet Cuthbert-Flynn (right), during a meeting at the Minister’s New Kingston offices on Tuesday (July 16) to discuss solutions to the water shortage aftecting West Rural and East Rural St. Andrew constituencies. At left is Acting Chief Technical Director in the Ministry, Authrine Scarlett.

 

The meeting was among several the Minister has held with councillors, Members of Parliament and other stakeholders across drought-affected parishes.

Senator Charles Jr. said that the meetings have been useful so far.

“They have served as a critical platform for us to not only receive information but to have the very important cross-cutting discussions between our own agencies, and highlighted the importance of us having an integrated approach to water resource management,” he said.