JIS News

Holders of permits and licensed service providers involved in the pumping and delivery of water are being reminded to report their activities to facilitate maintenance of adequate supplies of the resource.
Managing Director of the Water Resources Authority (WRA) – Basil Fernandez issued this reminder during a recent interview with JIS News.
“We want to bring to the public’s (attention) and the licensees, their (providers) obligations under the licences that (they) have been granted,” Mr. Fernandez said.
Explaining the reason for the reminder at this time, he noted that: “Over the years, we have been experiencing a high degree of delinquency on the part of the licensees in meeting the conditions and submitting the information, which is very critical to them maintaining the reliability of their water supply.” He added that this information helps the WRA to understand what is happening, and places that entity in a better position to plan and put strategies in place.
The WRA regulates and allocates water in Jamaica through a series of licences and permits, and promotes the preservation, conservation, and proper use of this resource.
Mr. Fernandez pointed out that the supply and allocation of water is similar to operating a chequing account, which has to be balanced.
“In the same way that you balance your cheque book, and know how much money you have in the bank at the end of the month, we have to balance the water resources of the country. We have to know how much is coming in and we can get that information from the rainfall and the data which we collect through our monitoring network,” he explained.
“We now need to know how much is going out. We allocate licences, but we are not sure what people are doing with their licences,” the WRA head pointed out.
Under the Water Resources Act (1995), the abstraction and use of water from all surface or groundwater sources requires a licence. The WRA should also be notified prior to changing the pump on any existing works; a new licence is required if this results in a change in the abstraction volume, as occurs with the widening of a well.
In order for the WRA to do proper planning, licensees need to respond to the requests on the volumes of water being extracted. However, many persons are not complying, Mr. Fernandez pointed out.
“Sometimes we write to people seeking this information and they don’t even respond. Those who do respond sometimes give their records to us for a few months, and then they stop,” the WRA Managing Director complained.