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Western Jamaica Told To Brace For Water Restrictions As Drought Worsens | RJR News - Jamaican News Online
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Western Jamaica told to brace for water restrictions as drought worsens

 
As the drought conditions affecting Jamaica worsen, the National Water Commission is warning residents in Western Jamaica to brace for water restrictions.
 
Prime Minister Andrew Holness on Tuesday disclosed that severe drought has been affecting the western end of the island, especially Westmoreland and Hanover.
 
He said millions of dollars has been allocated to assist affected communities.
 
Speaking on the Morning Agenda on Power 106 on Wednesday morning, acting communication manager at the NWC, Delano Williams said the Logwood water supply system, that serves communities in Hanover and Westmoreland, is at 50 per cent of its capacity - much worse than last year.
 
He said the NWC is implementing measures to manage the water crisis. 
 
"The areas that would normally receive 24 hours are running at an average of 12 to 16 hours supply, now. There are also some communities which, because of the elevation, it takes more time for water to get to them so we're having to use a pump to tank system and then release to customers," said Mr. Williams, who cited West End, Westland Mountain, Whitehall, Cauldwell and Green Island as some of the affected areas.
 
The acting communication manager added that the NWC will be increasing the trucking of water to the affected communities in the short term as well as upgrading the Great River and Roaring River water systems as part of the long term plan.
 
Gov't not caught off guard
 
At the same time, Minister with responsibility for water Matthew Samuda has sought to defend the government's planning and investment in water infrastructure. 
 
Arguing that the government was not caught off guard in terms of its planning for the drought, Mr. Samuda said the Integrated Water Resource Management Council as well as its drought management committee have been meeting to examine and fine-tune its emergency response.
 
"But I think we have to contemplate drought in the context of the work that we have done because it shows a clear path to developing resilience and to ensuring that the impact of future droughts continues to get less and less as we build out our infrastructure in the country," he asserted while addressing Wednesday morning's post Cabinet media briefing.
 
Drought to get worse
 
Director of the Met Service of Jamaica Evan Thompson said six parishes were characterised as experiencing a drought in January to February. They are Hanover and Westmoreland in the west, St. Elizabeth and Clarendon in the south and Portland and St. Mary on the northeastern end of the island. 
 
Mr. Thompson said the drought conditions are expected to worsen over those parishes and extend to others, as there was no appreciable rainfall during March based on the preliminary data collected.
 
But Mr. Thompson said the rainfall outlook for April, May and June is likely to improve. 
 
"The western part of the island will continue to experience quite a bit of dryness, even more so than the rest of the country. Others will gradually start to see the rainfall coming in and we expect it to become above normal, but this might happen more toward the end of this period - this is in May in June - when we expect the secondary rainfall peak to occur across the country."
 
Peter Clarke, Managing Director of the Water Resources Authority, said despite the drought conditions, they are not seeing any major impact on ground water reserves.

But they are concerned about some of the rivers that are now drying up, including Plantain Garden River, Buff Bay River, Rio Minho, Great River and Roaring River.   



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