Gov’t warns citizens to brace for water disruptions amid drought Loop Jamaica

The content originally appeared on: News Americas Now

Black Immigrant Daily News

The content originally appeared on: Jamaica News Loop News

As the country continues to be impacted by severe drought conditions which are being further compounded by the traditional dry season, the Government is again warning citizens to brace for disruptions in their water supplies.

The warning from Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation with responsibility for water, Matthew Samuda, came even as he said the Government will activate an emergency response, among other measures, to try and stay ahead of any impact the weather phenomenon may cause.

“We are at a point where inflows are below outflows and we are seeing depletions (in water supply), which we will have to tackle head-on,” said Samuda.

“Citizens, businesses, and especially our farmers, are being urged to brace for possible disruptions in water supply, including lower water pressures, adjustments in the current water supply regulations, and no water conditions in the areas that are worst affected,” he warned.

Samuda was addressing the commissioning of a water storage tank in York Town, Clarendon on Thursday.

Just over a week ago, a Cabinet minister revealed that Jamaica is experiencing a meteorological drought due to declining water storage levels and low rainfall.

Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Desmond McKenzie, said then, that the National Drought Committee had been meeting to craft solutions to assist communities where water has essentially “dried up”.

On Thursday Samuda said the Government has moved to allocate $50 million to assist the National Water Commission (NWC) and the municipal corporations with the trucking of water until the end of the current financial year in March 2023.

In pointing to the traditional dry season from December to March, Samuda said the island tends to receive its lowest level of rainfall during this period.

“To address this, under the directive of Prime Minister Andrew Holness, we will develop a national programme, engage in national public education, and an emergency response will be activated so that we remain ahead of the drought,” stated Samuda.

He explained that a December 2022 report from the Meteorological Service Jamaica showed that every parish had less rainfall than their 30-year average.

On that score, the minister said: “We are urging you to implement conservation methods to safeguard the limited supply”.

He said the NWC has already warned of pending water lock-offs in specific areas.

While noting that Clarendon has not been placed in the red zone relative to lack of rainfall, Samuda reiterated that the country is experiencing a meteorological drought, and appealed to residents to not waste the water they have at the moment.

Meanwhile, some 600 residents of the most affected agricultural communities in Clarendon are expected to benefit from the commissioning of the 50,000-gallon water tank in York Town under the Storage Tank Replacement Project.

The project was completed at a cost of $22 million under the NWC’s Tank and Pump Rehabilitation for Operational Efficiency Improvement Programme.