First Look

Water Minister missing in action says G2K

G2K | 2015-09-24 00:00:00

On the heels of  the National Water Commission announcing increased water restrictions for Kingston and St. Andrew, Generation 2000 (G2K), the young professional affiliate of the Jamaica Labour Party, launched a scathing criticism of the Minister of Water, Land, Environment and Climate Change, Robert Pickersgill. According to G2K, the minister’s response to the drought has been woefully inadequate. 

“Jamaicans have had to deal with a severe drought almost every year. It is an occurrence that is familiar that we have come to expect and a sensible Government should prepare for. This is the time when the presence of the Minister of water should be felt the most and it is disgraceful that Minister Pickersgill is still missing in action,” said Matthew Samuda, President of G2K.

The situation has reached crisis proportions this year as residents in many sections of the island have been driven by desperation to garner water for domestic purposes from unfamiliar and unsafe sources. This creates a serious health risk where schools, businesses and households are severely affected. Unfortunately, the Minister has no workable plan in place to deal with the nation’s water crisis, and can only be described as detached from the peoples reality at best.

It must be noted that, while in Government, the JLP applied to the OUR and was successful in the implementation of the K Factor. The K-Factor allows the NWC to use a pre-determined percentage on customers' bills to implement non-revenue water reduction, sewerage and other specifically approved operational efficiency projects. The work that has been done on the water supply network since 2011 has only been made possible by the foundation that was laid by the JLP while in office.

“Jamaica, 'the Land of Wood and water', should not have water restrictions. What is needed is proper management of the resource and a build out of infrastructure. When the government fails to store and distribute adequate water it falls upon the citizens of Jamaica to source and store the basic commodity for themselves.  This can be an extremely burdensome, frustrating and expensive task.   It is only fair that the government, having failed to meet its obligations, do what it should to reduce the burden on persons who are forced to fend for themselves due to insufficient and absent leadership” said Stephen Edwards, Vice President of G2K.

Generation 2000 offers the following suggestions which should be incorporated as part of a comprehensive water management strategy:
• Legislate Mandatory Water Harvesting requirements, which should be incorporated from the planning stage of construction
• Set standards for water supply devices that use / conserve water
• Incentivize adherence to the National Water Management policy by exempting more water efficient devices from GCT, including:
o Water Efficient Toilets and Urinals
o  Water harvesting devices and associated materials
o Water Storage Devices
o Water Reuse & Recycling Devices

Robert Pickersgill and the PNP administration must recognize that Jamaicans from all walks of life will judge them harshly for their chronic mismanagement and failure  to take the necessary steps to ensure that the basic but precious commodity, water, is available.


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