Minister of Water warns of recurring drought due to climate change | RJR News

Minister with responsibility for Water, Matthew Samuda, warns that Jamaica could experience persistent drought in the coming years due to climate change.

Speaking on Thursday at the opening of the National Water Commission’s commercial office in Falmouth, Trelawny, Senator Samuda highlighted the drought conditions that have affected the western end of the island in recent months.

He warned that the country should brace for more dry spells in the future.

“We are influenced by the changing weather pattern, where you see longer, more intense and warmer droughts. Last year, at the end of March, when they added up the previous six months, which would have led to From October 2022 to March 2023, it turned out to be the driest cumulative period in Jamaica’s history,” he pointed out.

“For example, if you look at the eastern end of the island in February… in Kingston and St. Andrew you had eight percent of the thirty year average rainfall… You had streams in the rainforest parish of Portland The Stream of the Eight rivers in St. Ann have dried up. That’s the impact we’ve seen due to the change in our climate. This year, while not as extreme as last year, it has indeed had similar impacts.”

Mr Samuda said the government has focused on helping communities in West Jamaica affected by the drought.

Improve NWC’s revenues

Meanwhile, the National Water Commission is now seeing an improvement in its revenue as a result of its island-wide fundraising campaign.

The NWC targets delinquent customers who owe the utility billions of dollars in unpaid bills.

Citing two years of surplus, Senator Samuda commended the management of the NWC for its actions to improve the company’s revenue stream, adding that this could not have been achieved without the efforts of the hardworking men and women of the entity .

“This year, the Water Commission is actively pursuing an additional J$5 billion in infrastructure investments that ensure every drop really counts, because we’re not pumping it into the ground. “That is why this government has allocated J$1.6 billion to the Rural Water Supply Limited, doubling the largest ever allocation to facilitate investments in rural water needs for rural communities in an unprecedented way,” the Minister announced.

The NWC started another collection campaign last month.