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Minister of Water and Housing, Donald Buchanan has said that the much-awaited Water Resources Master Plan should be ready by the next fiscal year.
The Minister, who made the announcement at the second stakeholder workshop to discuss the Plan, held today at the Knutsford Court Hotel in Kingston, informed that: “discussions now underway between the Water Resources Authority (WRA) and the Ministry of Transport and Works indicate the legislative and institutional changes can be successfully concluded before April 2006”.
The workshop, which is also the last before the final draft of the Master Plan is completed, was being held to review the second draft of the Plan with the objective of arriving at the final draft to be presented to Parliament next year.
Minister Buchanan instructed that the final draft must include providing the framework for the expansion of domestic water supply, especially into the rural areas and the tourism, agriculture and industrial sectors.
The Water Resources Act of 1995 requires the WRA to prepare and submit a draft Water Resources Master Plan for Jamaica to the Minister for approval. “Water drives development and the Master Plan is a critical tool in the propulsion and sustainability of all development plans across Jamaica,” Minister Buchanan noted.
The Water Minister also informed that the Water Sector Policy, the National Irrigation Development Plan, the Strategic Framework of the Ministry and the Disaster Management and Mitigation Bill were all areas, which would require the critical support of the Master Plan.
He further lauded the Inter-American Development Bank (IADB), which provided funding for most of the project, as well WRA and McGill University, which was consulted in the design of the Plan.
The Master Plan will: identify the objectives for the development, conservation and use of water resources while considering economic efficiency protection of health and the protection of the environment; describe and record the occurrence, quantity, quality, availability and current uses of water; and identify and describe the projected water demands and make recommendations for action to be taken to meet the government’s development policy.
A report on the outcome of the workshop as well as the final recommendations for the Master Plan are to be presented to Minister Buchanan on December 21.