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Water Scarcity: PM Wants More Funds and Concerted Action to Meet Crisis

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The crisis due to inadequate water supply, being faced by certain parts of the country, reached the Jamaican Parliament Wednesday, prompting an intervention by Prime Minister Andrew Holness himself. Where there is a huge gap between the demand and supply, quick and concerted actions need to be initiated. In this case, according to the PM, the National Water Commission is receiving only 37 million gallons whereas, the requirement for water exceeds 63 million gallons, leaving a gap of 26 million gallons on a daily basis.

Long Term Solution to Tackle the Crisis

The Jamaican PM told the Parliament that action needs to be taken from all sides. One solution that has been found, and is working currently, is to truck water to all areas and settlements, facing scarcity. Trucking involves costs and the original $100 million allocated for this purpose may be inadequate. The PM requested the Finance Minister to come forward to enhance the allocation. Another area identified, is the storage of water in tanks. In this area too, about 500 storage tanks have already been distributed and placed. There is a need for more tanks and the government has to look into it and take necessary action.

Water Conservation Measures Essential

The main stakeholders in this are the people, the end-users of the water. There has to be a general awareness among the public at large that the crisis is real and they must help, in every manner possible. There must be judicious use of water and where water can be conserved, it must be voluntarily done.

From the government’s side, a 15-million-gallon water treatment plant on the Rio Cobre in St. Catherine has to be completed and commissioned. The real challenge, however, will be to distribute this water to every household. The water transmission system needs to be augmented and the distribution made more efficient. Funds will have to be allocated for completion of the $160 million project, for the distribution system upgrade.

All these measures need to be initiated simultaneously so that the inconvenience faced by the residents is reduced substantially.


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