JM | Mar 6, 2023

Holness appeals for conservation of water

/ Our Today

Reading Time: 3 minutes
Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, speaks at a press conference at the Office of the Prime Minister in St. Andrew, recently. During the conference, he announced an additional $100 million to respond to the meteorological drought that the country is experiencing and encouraged Jamaicans to conserve. (Contributed: JIS photo)

Jamaicans are being encouraged to conserve on their use of water as part of efforts to mitigate the impact of drought conditions.

“I am appealing to all Jamaicans to be conservative in the use of water. We are not yet at the point where we would declare certain orders in terms of the usage of water, but we could get there,” the Prime Minister said. 

Holness was speaking at a recent press conference at the Office of the Prime Minister, where he announced an additional $100 million to respond to the meteorological drought that the country is experiencing. The sum is in addition to an initial $50 million to support the response measures by the Government.

“Before we get there, I would urge consumers to, for example, reduce the number of times you wash your car; reduce the amount of water you use in watering your lawns; make sure that if you are not using the tap, you turn it off; and check your homes for leaks. If you can, start to collect whatever rainwater you can,” he implored.

Mr. Holness also encouraged them to instal water-efficient plumbing fixtures in their homes. 

“These are the things we need to do as Jamaicans to become more responsive,” he said, noting that behavioural change is critical in boosting resilience and responding to the effects of climate change. 

The Prime Minister explained that the country is experiencing a meteorological drought, which means that the level of rainfall is very low and is affecting the supply of water.

“This is particularly the case for communities that are dependent on catchment, for example.  So, rural communities are likely to be greatly affected,” Mr. Holness said.

He informed that the country has been recording reductions in rainfall from as early as October last year.

“In November, we had 62 per cent of our 30-year average for rainfall; in December, it declined to 47 per cent of our 30-year average for rainfall and we are at now in January… 32 per cent of the 30-year average. The figures for February are now being compiled, but the preliminary analysis is showing that we will probably be lower than 30 per cent; so, from a meteorological standpoint, from a rainfall standpoint, we are in a crisis,” he said.

In light of this, the Prime Minister informed that the Drought Management Committee has commenced meetings and is monitoring the situation.

Eleven parishes are experiencing meteorological drought conditions, according to the Meteorological Office.

The drought response measures will be channeled through the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development, and the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries. The measures include, among other things, the trucking of water to communities.

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