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State Minister for Water and Housing, Everald Warmington, has said that the provision of potable water to meet the needs of the population, particularly persons in rural areas, remained a key focus of the Ministry.
He was speaking at the official handing over of the Pedro River Water Supply System recently, in the St. Ann community.
“At the Ministry of Water and Housing, we understand the importance of providing potable water to residents across Jamaica. This is not only because we have to fulfill our obligation to meet the 2015 Millennium Development Goal for water set out by the United Nations, but because we are acutely aware that water is critical if we are to live healthy, dignified lives as individuals,” Mr. Warmington stated.
He noted further that “water is also vital to the development of our communities and the growth of our nation. Without it, we cannot hope to attract the kind of investment we need to develop our country. Our agriculture, tourism, manufacturing, mining, health and services sectors must have a steady supply of water to function.”
The Government of Jamaica, he pointed out, has created a number of programmes and agencies to develop water systems across the island, such as the Rural Water Supply Limited, while the Rural Water Programme, which was established in partnership with the Inter-American Development Bank, was benefitting residents in areas such as Whitehorses, Botany Bay and Pamphret in St. Thomas; Gravel Hill in South West Clarendon; Mile Gully and Warwick Castle in St. Mary; and Giblatore in St. Catherine.
He further mentioned the work of the Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF) and the European Union’s Poverty Reduction Programme, which continue to make a profound difference in the lives of many rural residents.
In the meantime, Mr. Warmingtom informed that a Rural Water Master Plan, was being put in place to guide investment in the water sector.
The plan seeks to identify the areas served as well as the level of service provided. It will also ascertain the areas that do not have safe water supplies and develop strategies and designs to provide water to these parts.
The State Minister urged the residents of Pedro River to take special care of the water system and to pay their water bills, so that the facility could be properly maintained.