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  • Water, Land, Environment and Climate Change Minister, Hon. Robert Pickersgill, says the Government, through the Ministry, is taking the necessary measures to safeguard Jamaica’s freshwater resources, in light of protracted drought conditions.
  • These measures, he informs, include: revision of Jamaica’s 2004 Water Sector Policy and Action Plans, work on which is “far advanced,” and development of the Rural Water Supply Development Strategy.

Water, Land, Environment and Climate Change Minister, Hon. Robert Pickersgill, says the Government, through the Ministry, is taking the necessary measures to safeguard Jamaica’s freshwater resources, in light of protracted drought conditions.

These measures, he informs, include: revision of Jamaica’s 2004 Water Sector Policy and Action Plans, work on which is “far advanced,” and development of the Rural Water Supply Development Strategy.

Mr. Pickersgill notes that these engagements are also aimed at ensuring that the supply of fresh water is “not compromised in any way.”

The Minister was speaking at the Ministry’s second Climate Change Public Campaign consultation on the 2015 Paris Climate Change Conference (COP 21), at the Cecil Charlton Hall, in Mandeville, Manchester, on September 17.

Mr. Pickersgill said the consultations are being held at a time when the signs of climate change are “all around us.”

“We are in the throes of one of the fiercest drought periods in a long time, where the lack of rainfall has caused water to become scarce in many parts of Jamaica,” he pointed out.

Noting that there have been “encouraging” signs of rainfall within recent weeks, the Minister said “we need sustained rainfall in order to make a difference to the storage levels in our major catchment areas, and in our water production facilities islandwide.”

He pointed to the “troubling” predictions of local meteorologists who have indicated that Jamaica could experience increased dry conditions for the rest of 2015, and until March 2016.

The Minister also highlighted the report of the Climate Studies Group, University of the West Indies (UWI), Mona, titled: ‘State of the Jamaican Climate 2012’, which points out that most of the future rainfall projections for the Caribbean show decreases, especially by the end of the 21st Century.

Additionally, he said the group indicated that this drying trend will “firmly establish itself somewhere in the middle of the current century,”

“These are exciting times when Jamaica, a small island developing state, can do its part to steer a shrinking global village from disaster, and towards a brighter future. We must grasp the changes that are taking place all around us and steadfastly adopt as our motto in these times: ‘With Climate Change, We Must Change’,” Mr. Pickersgill said.

The 21st annual United Nations (UN) Climate Change Conference (COP21) will be held in Paris, France from November 30 to December 11.

The conference aims to achieve a legally binding and universal agreement on climate from all the nations of the world.

Given the significance of COP 21, a number of events will be staged targeting specific groups and the general public, who will be provided with information on the conference, ahead of the Paris meeting

As part of preparations, the Ministry has been staging a series of national consultations to enlighten participants on ongoing developments and elicit proposals from them. The next consultation is scheduled for Montego Bay, in October.