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Story Highlights

  • With the 2015/16 academic year set to get underway in less than two weeks, the National Water Commission (NWC) says it will be treating as priority, the provision of water to schools faced with a shortage of the commodity.
  • Schools in the Kingston Metropolitan Area (KMA), St. Catherine and Clarendon are facing severe challenges as a result of the current dry spell. Institutions in St. Thomas, Manchester, St. Elizabeth and Portland are also being impacted.
  • The NWC is collaborating with the Ministry of Education to ensure that the affected schools have adequate water supply.

With the 2015/16 academic year set to get underway in less than two weeks, the National Water Commission (NWC) says it will be treating as priority, the provision of water to schools faced with a shortage of the commodity.

NWC President, Mark Barnett, gave the commitment to the Minister of Water, Land, Environment and Climate Change, Hon. Robert Pickersgill, while addressing a heads of agencies and departments meeting held recently at the Ministry in Kingston.

Schools in the Kingston Metropolitan Area (KMA), St. Catherine and Clarendon are facing severe challenges as a result of the current dry spell. Institutions in St. Thomas, Manchester, St. Elizabeth and Portland are also being impacted.

The NWC is collaborating with the Ministry of Education to ensure that the affected schools have adequate water supply.

Mr. Barnett reported that an assessment has been conducted looking at the needs of up to 200 schools that could be “seriously impacted” and the strategies to be employed to keep them supplied.

“There is the need for additional trucks. I’m going to need as many trucks as possible to prevent any problems developing,” he told Minister Pickersgill, while making a request for the use of trucks from the Rapid Response Unit.

“I will (also) need a comprehensive list of all the schools (in the targeted areas), where they are located and which can store water and how much,” he said.

Minister Pickersgill instructed the Rapid Response Unit to work closely with the NWC in supplying water to schools.

Minister of Education, Hon. Rev. Ronald Thwaites, while addressing the Jamaica Teachers’ Association (JTA) 51st annual conference held recently, called on school administrators to communicate their needs to the Ministry and the NWC, as well as their water storage capacity.

 

“We have made arrangements with the NWC to provide water at those schools, which have tanks. Please report emergencies regarding water shortages before (the situation) actually becomes critical,” he urged, informing that a hotline has been established to facilitate schools.

Minister Thwaites also encouraged parents to give children drinking water to take to school.

He also advised schools to include, as part of their emergency management measures, the teaching of students on the effects of climate change, enduring droughts, and the prudent use of the scarce commodity.