JIS News

State Minister for Water and Housing, Hon. Everald Warmington, has said that adoption of an integrated approach to managing water resources will be crucial in ensuring a sustainable water supply.
“We seem to believe that there are unlimited water resources to serve for eons into the future but, the fact is, water is a finite resource, and while Jamaica is now in a surplus mode with respect to the quantity of available water, this can be quickly altered if integrated water resources management is not practiced,” Mr. Warmington cautioned.
He was addressing the opening ceremony of the two-day Integrated Water Resources Management Symposium, put on by the Ministry at the Jamaica Conference Centre in Kingston on Wednesday (February 24).
He said that the Water Resources Authority (WRA), under the Water Sector Policy formulated in 2002 to facilitate the development of the sector, has already made some headway in planning and implementing the integrated management and development of Jamaica’s water resources.
Some achievements include: development of the Water Resources Development Plan, which defines the resources, supply and demand on our hydraulic basins ; development of the National Irrigation Development Master Plan, with the National Irrigation Commission; and preparation of parish plans for the development of resources in tandem with the National Water Commission (NWC).
“The WRA works closely with our major provider, the National Water Commission (NWC), to ensure that there is an adequate supply to efficiently and effectively meet the ever growing demand for water,” he stated.
He said that one of the programmes that the NWC is pursuing is the Jamaica Water Supply Improvement project, being implemented over the next two years at a cost of $17 billion. It aims to address the water supply problems which have been affecting the Kingston Metropolitan Area (KMA).
He noted too that the Rural Water Supply Limited, an agency of the Ministry, has also been working to develop a number of other water supply projects to serve rural areas, some of which are to be completed by the end of March.
The Minister noted, however, that though the programmes and measures are moving in the right direction, more needed to be done to ensure sustainability of the water supply.
“Water is a dynamic force and supply, demand and use are constantly changing. We therefore have to become more proactive in the management of our water resources to ensure sustainability,” he said.
The State Minister noted that any consideration and approach toward integrated water resources management will have to examine and promote awareness of simple solutions for sustainable water conservation, such as rainwater harvesting, recycling and re-use.
He said that the symposium provided an excellent opportunity for stakeholders to brainstorm, and come up with lasting solutions in the area of water resources management and supply of water resources.
Held under the theme, ‘Planning for Tomorrow’s Water Needs, Today’, the symposium aimed to create synergies with other sectors that are dependent on, or impact on water resources. These sectors include agriculture, tourism, energy, housing and infrastructure and the environment.
Other activities included a review of the Water Sector Policy within the context of climate change and other social and economic issues, as well as producing a revised Water Sector Policy document, using Jamaica’s revised Water Resources Master Plan as a platform.
Funding for the event was provided by the Caribbean Environmental Health Institute (CEHI), through the Integrated Watershed and Coastal Areas Management Project/Global Environment Facility (IWCAM/GEF).

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