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Story Highlights

  • The first in a series of four regional consultations on the Water Sector Policy and Implementation plan was held at the Wexford Hotel in Montego Bay, on Thursday, April 10.
  • The forum is an opportunity to make their input towards the development of the final document.
  • The main aim of the policy is to provide universal access to potable water for all Jamaicans by 2020.

The first in a series of four regional consultations on the Water Sector Policy and Implementation plan was held at the Wexford Hotel in Montego Bay, on Thursday, April 10.

The forum, being staged by the Ministry of Water, Land Environment and Climate Change, in collaboration with the Global Water Partnership-Caribbean, gave residents of Trelawny, St. James, Hanover, and Westmoreland, is an opportunity to make their input towards the development of the final document.

In a message delivered on his behalf by Chief Technical Director in the Ministry, and Chairman of the session, Lt. Col. Oral Khan, Minister of State, Hon. Ian Hayles, outlined that the draft policy on water resources management were intended to provide a guide on the work taking place in the Ministry. He said it also demonstrates the general improvements in the sector, as well as the constraints, and general direction and vision for the water sector.

“The main aim of the policy is to provide universal access to potable water for all Jamaicans by 2020. This has been our aim since the year 2000, when the policy was first promulgated,” he said.

The State Minister explained that in drafting the policy, the demand for potable water up to the year 2020 was taken into consideration, utilizing the formula of 150 persons per square kilometer.  He noted that water is crucial to the process of sustainable development, and economic progress.

Meanwhile, Programme Manager, Global Water Partnership-Caribbean, Dr. Natalie Boodram, said that her organisation is heartened that Jamaica is placing emphasis on climate change in the policy.

She commended the country for its progress in environmental work, stating that it is “is ahead of the crowd” from a regional perspective.

“You are already implementing the changes, or have already started devising your water policy to include climate change concerns, the other countries are now starting,” she noted.

Some of the issues raised during the consultation included the provision of social water, rainwater harvesting, maintenance of minor water supply systems, creation of no build zones, water resources, and the implications of the use of water as a source of renewable energy.

The remaining consultations are scheduled for: April 16, at the St. Theresa’s Roman Catholic Church Hall, in Annotto Bay, St. Mary, targeting residents of St. Ann, St. Mary and Portland; April 23, at Manchester High School, Mandeville, for residents of St. Elizabeth, Manchester and Clarendon; and April 30, at the Courtleigh Hotel, in Kingston, for residents of St Thomas, St. Catherine, and Kingston and St. Andrew.