Jamaica | Mar 13, 2023

Help on the way for drought-stricken communities

/ Our Today

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Communities across the island that have been affected by severe drought conditions will now have greater access to potable water after Desmond McKenzie, minister of local government and rura; development, disclosed that $60 million will be provided to improve access.

McKenzie said the sum is in addition to the $100 million recently announced by Prime Minister Andrew Holness for the trucking of water.

He noted that the ministry is working closely with the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, under which the National Water Commission (NWC) falls, to ensure that residents in the severely affected communities can have access to water.

Desmond McKenzie, minister of local government and rural development.

The local government minister, who was delivering the main address at the commissioning of the Watermount water system in St Catherine last Wednesday (March 8), said the drought is the worst that the island has experienced in many years. He said no significant amount of rainfall is expected until May.

“What it means, therefore, is that for communities that are severely hampered by the drought, we will have to spend more [resources]. So, the ministry… will be making an additional $60 million out of the ministry available with immediate effect to respond to this crisis,” he said.

The minister informed that $7 million out of a sum of $14 million is being allocated this week to the St Catherine Municipal Corporation to aid in water delivery. The remaining $7 million will be provided in another two weeks.

He said that funds have gone to other municipal corporations and they will continue to receive assistance.

Mckenzie urged residents to use water responsibly, with domestic use being prioritised.

“We can’t water lawns because we don’t have any water to do that,” he pointed out.

He further implored persons to desist from lighting fires, as the Jamaica Fire Brigade (JFB) has been under strain trying to contain blazes.

“It is in nobody’s interest to burn any garbage because it is having serious impact on the Jamaica Fire Brigade,” the minister said.


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