Permanent Secretaryin the Ministry of Housing, Environment and Water, Genefa Hibbert, and Chairman of the Water Resources Authority of Jamaica, Dr. Parris Lyew-Ayee Jr., recently attended the 4th Singapore International Water Week, Water Convention and Water Leaders Summit. The week-long event held in the South- East Asian city-state, was attended by over 2,500 delegates from around the world.
Major issues, such as climate change, urbanization and water supply, as well as water security were discussed. High level meetings and discussions were also held with regional and global water ministers, as well as industry and academic leaders.
A session was also held with the Singaporean Prime Minister, Mr. Lee Hsien Loong on the policy and strategic direction for water affairs for the country, as well as providing leadership and sharing expertise with the rest of the world.
The Jamaican delegation met with senior members of Singapore’s Ministry of Environment and Water Resources including the Minister, Dr. Vivian Balakrishnan; Junior Minister, Mrs. Grace Fu Hai Yien.
Water researchg being conducted by numerous agencies across the world was shared at the forum, and will be incorporated into different areas of the sector here in Jamaica.
These include broad water sector management research, including water policy and governance; economics, and energy sector linkages. Research was also shared on treating saline groundwater, which is a major issue affecting Jamaican groundwater systems contaminated by saline intrusion as a result of over-extraction and the future threat of a rise in sea levels.
The University of the West Indies, which signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Water Resources Authority last year, will take the lead for the initial multi-disciplinary water research.
Reservoir management including maximizing the efficiency of catchment areas and their use as recreational areas, was also examined.
The recently released Water Resources Factbook of Jamaica, prepared by the Water Resources Authority, was presented to senior delegates from several countries including Singapore, China, India, South Africa and the United States.