Water minister says Jamaica challenged by rising heat due to climate change

Matthew Samuda
By Nakinskie Robinson    
Minister with responsibility for Water, Matthew Samuda, says the government is facing a significant challenge with rising temperatures caused by climate change.
He made the disclosure Thursday during the commissioning ceremony for a $180 million Hopewell potable water system in St. Elizabeth.  
Mr. Samuda said climate change has exacerbated the issues. 
"For coastal communities like Billy's Bay, the issue of climate change is real. It is a practical, real threat to the survival of citizens, to the survival of our way of life. Now climate change is real in Jamaica. This increase in temperature is already prompting higher rates of evaporation at our storage facilities. It is already increasing the demand for portable irrigation and other water. We have a challenge. And then here comes climate change, an issue not of our own making, that has changed our weather pattern," he noted. 
Mr. Samuda said the government is working overtime to address several issues with the country's water infrastructure. 
"Jamaica under-invested in its water supply systems, whether potable or irrigation, for 40 years. We are playing catch-up now. We have steadied the ship, we have done a lot of work to steady the balance sheet of the NWC (National Water Commission) that has facilitated the space now to make unprecedented investments. But that still means we are playing catch-up." 
"I shouldn't have been the Minister that is commissioning this system. This should have happened long before I joined politics, but I am happy that I was able to play a role in improving the space," the minister admitted. 
The upgraded water system is expected to serve Billy's Bay and Fort Charles at the western end of the Treasure Beach strip in St. Elizabeth.

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