WORLD WATER DAY MESSAGE BY THE MINISTER OF WATER AND HOUSING, HON. DR. HORACE CHANG


It’s tasteless, odorless and colorless…but every aspect of our survival on earth depends on it. It’s uses are numerous and diverse…hygiene, energy, production, sanitation, transportation, leisure, to name but a few.
In some parts of the world, it’s more precious than oil. Water: It’s the driving force of nature.
Jamaica’s water quality is rated among the best in the world and in fact, many of us take access to safe, clean drinking water for granted. But as we join countries around the globe in observing World Water Day, we need to be aware that there are still communities right here, without access to this important resource.
Persons in these communities rely on untreated sources, such as rivers, wells, and springs for their domestic needs. But serious public health issues can arise from drinking untreated water.
In fact, UNICEF estimates that untreated water is responsible for the deaths of almost four thousand 500-children per day worldwide.
We will therefore continue to address the needs of those communities that are plagued by inadequate supply, in order to ensure that every household in Jamaica has access to safe, clean, drinking water.
In some of our drier areas, alternative measures such as rainwater harvesting, are being explored to ensure adequate supplies, particularly throughout the dry period. Of course, conservation is also an important part of our water management strategy. Jamaica has an abundance of water, but it is not limitless. We urge you therefore to turn off all taps when not in use, and fix any leaks around the home and protect our watershed by planting and preserving our trees.
The theme of this year’s World Water Day is “Sanitation”, in keeping with the International Year of Sanitation.
This aspect of water management is also critical as how we manage our waste water has a profound impact on the health and well being of our communities. Without proper wastewater treatment facilities, our streets and water sources would be filled with raw sewerage, domestic, industrial and agricultural waste.
With this in mind, we are moving to upgrade our existing treatment facilities and build new ones, such as the Soapberry Treatment Plant in St. Catherine.
As we observe World Water Day, fifteen years from its first celebration in 1993, let us be mindful that water is important to our country’s development and strive to make the day meaningful as we work to improve the lives of all Jamaicans.

JIS Social