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  • The public will be given an opportunity to influence the recently drafted Water Sector Policy, through a series of public consultations to be staged at key locations island wide, starting April 10.
  • The consultations will outline the policy in detail, and capture the views of the public.
  • The review of the Policy and the public consultations is primarily to ensure greater access by Jamaicans to potable water.

The public will be given an opportunity to influence the recently drafted Water Sector Policy, through a series of public consultations to be staged at key locations island wide, starting April 10.

The consultations will outline the policy in detail, and capture the views of the public.

This was disclosed by Senior Director in the Policy and Monitoring division of the Ministry of Water, Land, Environment and Climate Change, Patricia Snow-Young at a JIS Think Tank held on April 8, to the launch the public consultations.

Mrs. Snow-Young stated that the review of the Policy and the public consultations is primarily to ensure greater access by Jamaicans to potable water.

She adds that persons attending the consultations can be assured that their views on the policy will be treated seriously, as the Government is committed to improving access to potable water.

“Presently access for the rural areas is 45 per cent so you realise its dragging behind major towns and the KMA (Kingston Metropolitan Area) and I would expect rural folks to come out and find out about how (the Policy) will change access to potable water for them,” she said.

The first public consultation will be held on Thursday, April 10 at the Wexford Hotel in St James, beginning at 4:00 p.m. This consultation will facilitate residents in Westmoreland, Hanover, St. James, and Trelawny.

Other consultations will be held in St. Mary at the St. Theresa’s Roman Catholic Church Hall on Wednesday, April 16, at 2:00 p.m. for residents of St. Ann, St. Mary and Portland; and at Manchester High School on Wednesday, April 23, at 4:00 p.m., facilitating residents of St. Elizabeth, Manchester, and Clarendon.

In Kingston, a consultation will be held on Wednesday, April 30, at the Courtleigh Hotel beginning at 6:00 p.m. This consultation will facilitate residents of St. Catherine, Kingston and St. Andrew, and St. Thomas.

Mrs. Snow-Young pointed out that the aim is to have as close to 100 per cent access as is possible. This target is to be achieved using the potable water master plan, which identifies where communities are located, and the closest access points to piped water, or a reliable water source.

She underscored however that there are challenges that may restrict achieving that target. These include terrain, modality, and position in relation to the water source. Managing Director of the Water Resources Authority (WRA), Basil Fernandez noted that clarity and frankness at the consultations will be important in dealing with the public.

“We have to let people know that, yes we do have water that it’s not evenly distributed but how we get it to them will depend on the modality being used, can we develop local sources, or can we augment these with rainwater harvesting,” he said

Engineering Manager at Rural Water Supply Limited, one of the stakeholder partners in the consultations, noted that the meetings are an excellent avenue to hold dialogue with the residents, especially since many rural communities are without a reliable source of water, and located in terrain that makes it difficult to get water to homes.

“We have adequate water sources. What we don’t have is persons living near the water sources. Jamaica is a very hilly country and as a result we have additional costs in moving water across the terrain,” he stated.

The consultations are being staged by the Ministry, in collaboration with Global Water Partnership Caribbean, a non-profit organisation based in Trinidad and Tobago, with parent offices in Sweden, which is providing financial support.

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