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  • Jamaicans are being urged to conserve water, and to prepare for the next drought period, which begins in December 2014.
  • Minister of Water, Land, Environment and Climate Change, Hon. Robert Pickersgill, made the call in a Statement to the House of Representatives on Tuesday, October 28.
  • He informed that the latest figures from the National Water Commission (NWC) indicate that the major catchment facilities, the Mona Reservoir and the Hermitage Dam, have experienced some improvements in their levels.

Jamaicans are being urged to conserve water, and to prepare for the next drought period, which begins in December 2014.

Minister of Water, Land, Environment and Climate Change, Hon. Robert Pickersgill, made the call in a Statement to the House of Representatives on Tuesday, October 28.

He informed that the latest figures from the National Water Commission (NWC) indicate that the major catchment facilities, the Mona Reservoir and the Hermitage Dam, have experienced some improvements in their levels.

“The Mona Reservoir is now at 66 per cent of total capacity, while the Hermitage is at 100 per cent. However, I wish to remind Members of the House that the Hermitage Dam is heavily silted and as such, the volume of water available for use is approximately 40 per cent,” Mr. Pickersgill said.

He further noted that last year at this time, the level at the Mona Reservoir was at 100 per cent or 849 million gallons of water, compared with the current level of 550 million gallons.

“As such, I am putting the country on alert that the next traditional drought period starts in December and runs through to April next year,” Mr. Pickersgill stated.

The Minister also reported that there have been improvements to inflows in the rural systems, with the exception of St. Mary, which is still experiencing drought conditions.

Mr. Pickersgill informed that the drought assessment for the period August to September 2014 indicated that only one parish experienced normal drought conditions, which was Clarendon, which had a drought indication of 45 per cent.

“While there have been improvements in drought conditions over most sections of the island, during the period October to December some south-central and south-western parishes are likely to slip back into abnormally dry to moderate dry conditions,” he noted.

He said the rainfall outlook for October to December continues to show a decline in rainfall over most southern parishes, and therefore special consideration is necessary for southern parishes, especially Southern St. Elizabeth, Southern Clarendon, and Southern St. Catherine.

The Minister noted that this may be attributed to likely declines in rainfall over the next three months and the dry season which runs from December through to March 2015.

Mr. Pickersgill informed that the programme to desilt the Hermitage Dam is well underway. He noted that the dive and the inspection of the Dam have already been done, and the Ministry is awaiting the report from the consultants for the issuing of the Request for Proposals.

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