JIS News

Story Highlights

  • National Water Commission (NWC) President, Mark Barnett, is urging citizens to practise water conservation as part of their daily habit.
  • “The concept of water conservation is normally taken more seriously during the dry period, but it should be an everyday conversation and practice,” he said in a recent JIS News interview.
  • “Water is the core of sustainable development. so we need to safeguard it,” he added.

National Water Commission (NWC) President, Mark Barnett, is urging citizens to practise water conservation as part of their daily habit.

“The concept of water conservation is normally taken more seriously during the dry period, but it should be an everyday conversation and practice,” he said in a recent JIS News interview.

“Water is the core of sustainable development. so we need to safeguard it,” he added.

Mr. Barnett said there is opportunity for persons to save water when doing daily routines such as using the bathroom and washing dishes.

Studies show that water use in an average household can be reduced by 30 per cent by simply practising conservation methods.

“In some countries, they have banned high-flush toilets, which use more than 1.8 gallons of water to flush and in Jamaica we still have toilets which use five gallons of water to flush, so being mindful of the simple ways we can conserve water is important,” Mr. Barnett noted.

He said that rainwater harvesting should also be a part of the conversation on conservation.

“So where you have apartment complexes, catchments can be constructed to collect rainwater, which can be used for irrigation. In fact, plants grow better with non-chlorinated water,” Mr. Barnett pointed out.

He said that while there is a tendency to place water storage tanks on roofs, they are best suited on the ground or at low levels.

“This ensures that even if the water pressure is low, water can still flow into the tanks,” he noted.

The NWC President is further encouraging householders to fix leaking pipes, as “a leak of merely one drop per second wastes 2,400 gallons of water per year”.

Water shortage is a global issue affecting approximately 27 per cent of the world’s population.

Reports from international body, the World Wildlife Organization, indicate that 2.7 billion people experience water scarcity at least one month every year.

Jamaica has a bimodal rainfall pattern, meaning that there are two rainy seasons, with maximum rainfall occurring in October and the secondary peak in May.

However, due to climate change, seasonal rainfall has become more variable, leading to drier periods and water shortages.

Information from the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, indicates that flow in all major water sources has fallen drastically within the last year.

The Yallahs River has dropped from 90,720 cubic metres per day to 23,328 cubic metres per day, while the Hope River has declined from 21,600 cubic metres per day to 12,096 cubic metres per day.

The NWC continues to improve its water conservation practices through the Non-Revenue Water Reduction Project.

The five-year-long initiative is being executed in Kingston and St. Andrew, with more than 1,000 leaks being fixed monthly.