Gov’t Allocates $30 Million to Alleviate Drought Conditions
The Government has allocated $30 million to truck water to several communities across the island that are experiencing shortages due to drought conditions.
Minister of Local Government and Community Development, Hon. Desmond McKenzie, said the measure forms the first phase of the Government’s response to the current dry spell affecting the parishes of St. Catherine, Clarendon, St. Elizabeth, St. Mary and Portland.
He was speaking at a post-Cabinet press briefing at Jamaica House on Wednesday (July 11).
The Met Office has issued drought alerts for sections of St. Catherine, Clarendon, and St. Elizabeth and a drought watch for Portland.
Mr. McKenzie said the money will be provided to the Municipal Corporations in the parishes.
He said that the Government “has taken careful note of the situation not only in these parishes but across the island and will be moving to ensure the continuation of normal economic and residential life”.
He noted that the forecast for the three-month period from July to September is for higher-than-normal temperatures with lower-than-normal levels of rainfall.
He said that these conditions are not unique to Jamaica, “but are conditions that are affecting parts of the Americas, Canada and the United Kingdom,” he pointed out.
Minister McKenzie said that additional measures will be adopted by the Government if the situation worsens over the coming weeks.
“The Government is prepared to spend whatever we can to ensure that adequate water is provided not just for residential use but, also, we have to take into consideration parishes like Manchester and St. Elizabeth, which are critical to the economic growth of the country, in terms of being the parishes that are responsible for a significant portion of our food supplies,” he said.
In the meanwhile, Mr. McKenzie said the Ministry has been constructing water shops in parishes that experience chronic water shortages.
He noted, as well, that the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation has been spending “a significant amount of money” to upgrade existing catchment systems to ensure that adequate water is provided to areas in need.