JIS News

The National Water Commission (NWC) and the Forestry Department on (Oct. 6) signed an agreement, aimed at re-foresting, improving and maintaining approximately 120 hectares of NWC-controlled watershed lands.
The five-year co-management agreement will cost the NWC some $18 million.
State Minister for Housing, Transport, Water and Works, Dr. Fenton Ferguson, in his remarks at the signing ceremony held at the NWC’s Hope Filter Plant on Old Hope Road, said that the NWC and the Forestry Department would cooperate to enforce the Forest and National Water Commission Acts, which provide for the eviction and/or prosecution of persons as well as regular inspection and patrol of forested areas.
He noted further that the agreement would facilitate training activities in relation to tree planting and watershed management; maintain access and trails to the forested areas; and enable public education activities, which will serve to better inform the public of the importance of watersheds.
“The state of the watershed is very important in ensuring that there is good quantity and quality water available for our use .the watershed lands have serious implications for water supply services, water supply costs, water supply service reliability, and water supply sustainability,” he noted.
State Minister for Agriculture and Lands, Victor Cummings, emphasised that the signing was significant, as it would assist government’s efforts to restore the country’s forest cover.
“In replanting our watershed lands, we are guaranteeing that we have a sustained supply of clean drinking water,” he added.
He noted that while Jamaica enjoyed the reputation of having one of the cleanest potable water supplies in the world, “if we don’t take the necessary steps to safeguard against the further degradation of our watersheds, then we are in jeopardy of losing such a status”.
Following the signing ceremony, the two State Ministers along with NWC officials, participated in tree planting exercises overseen by Conservator of Forest, Marilyn Headley, to mark World Tree Planting Day.

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