The Drought Management Committee will meet weekly and provide Cabinet with updates, in light of the current meteorological drought being experienced in Jamaica.
Senator Matthew Samuda, minister without portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, provided details during a press briefing on Friday at Jamaica House in St Andrew.
Samuda said the Committee, which comprises representatives of the Meteorological Service, Water Resources Authority (WRA), National Water Commission (NWC), the National Irrigation Commission (NIC), Rural Water Supply Company, and the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF), will update Cabinet as it relates to rainfall “which we are monitoring very closely” and the response and impact on the utilities that manage distribution.
“We know that when we distribute water by way of trucks into communities, there can be issues with the social cohesion in that space because people are obviously anxious at that time. So, we coordinate very closely with the police, so that they are aware of what we are doing and when we are doing it,” the minister stated.
Other key stakeholders include the Ministry of Health and Wellness, in order that efforts to monitor the quality of water in trucks and the appropriate sterilisation of these units can be heightened, the minister added.
Samuda informed that trucks that are licensed and designated to transport water, “will have readily identifiable markings on them, so that the police can identify whether they should or should not be on the road trucking water”.
Meanwhile, the minister is assuring the public that all entities dealing with water will ensure that they open special lines for persons to make contact and highlight any problems they may be having.
“We will need to hear from the public when they have had particular disruptions and when they have not been serviced in an unusually long time,” Samuda said.
“We will be as responsive as is humanly possible. I know the teams at NWC and NIC are going to come under significant pressure; but they have been preparing for this from the rainy season. This is not a last-minute exercise,” he added.
A meteorological drought occurs when a low level of rainfall affects the supply of water and is particularly the case for rural communities that are dependent on catchments.