With the steady decline of available water resources threatening National Water Commission (NWC) customers with additional cuts, Prime Minister Andrew Holness is scheduled to make a statement in the House of Representatives this afternoon on the matter.
NWC sources confirmed yesterday that week-end rains had only increased the storage at the Hermitage Dam by two per cent to 32 per cent, while the Mona Reservoir sunk by an additional two per cent to 27 per cent yesterday.
The continued decline in the storage at Mona, coupled with the slight increase at Hermitage, is expected to force the NWC to increase its restrictions and further reduce distribution to customers across the island.
Minister without Portfolio in the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM), Pearnel Charles Jnr, three weeks ago informed the nation that the government was advancing plans to combat the effects of drought, particularly in vulnerable communities.
He noted that Jamaica’s water sector is susceptible to multiple risks associated with climate change and variables such as hurricanes and drought, and pointed out that agencies such as the NWC and the Water Resources Authority (WRA), have been working tirelessly to protect and manage the distribution of the amenity.
Accordingly, the Authority has implemented strategies to ensure that water abstraction licence holders adhere to the conditions of their permits. The interventions are intended to ensure an effective monitoring programme is in place and, in the meantime, facilitate the development of long-term plans to address the water issue.
Minister of Science, Energy and Technology (SET), Fayval Williams, will also make her presentation in the continuing Sectoral Debate.
The House of Representatives is also scheduled to debate three bills: The Petroleum (Amendment) Act, 2019; The Bauxite and Alumina Industries (Encouragement) Act; and, continue debating the Law Reform (Amendment of Penalties) Act, 2019, which seeks to update the fines in several pieces of legislation which are considered unrealistic.