Fix our water woes... and dismantle the Ministry of Water

Friday, August 01, 2014    

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Dear Editor,

We know what to do about the water situation in our island home. There have been many suggestions on radio and in print.

I believe, too, that the Government and the National Water Commission (NWC) are doing the best they can during this water crisis by exhorting us to conserve. However, we could serve our best interests by helping ourselves.

We, the people, can build gutters around our roofs, have catchment areas and water tanks for our domestic water supply. Recycling our kitchen and bath/shower water is definitely an option. It does not hurt to be ahead of the Government and take the lead.

In both our rural districts and urban neighbourhoods we can call on the expertise of water engineers to harvest and properly administer our water resources and remove the unsightly plastic water tanks from our rooftops, which have an "expiry date" anyway.

Contacting the diaspora, we can find and bring in other Jamaican water engineers to help us harvest rainwater and safely exploit the underground water in our environs. Then, we could dismantle the Ministry of Water and reassign the staff of that ministry to other areas. The International Monetary Fund may even commend us on this excellent move on our part, which would, I'm sure, would make a dent in our debt.

In the state of Pernambuco in north-eastern Brazil, which has suffered from severe drought for many years, I noticed that conversation almost always centres on water, or the lack of it. I even saw people cutting up cactus to feed the animals to prevent them from dying of thirst. May we never reach that stage.

Time was when people in the dry areas of Manchester and St Elizabeth built their tank before they built their homes to ensure their water supply. In those days, the NWC and the Ministry of Water were never mentioned in their conversations. What has happened to our initiative and enterprising spirit?

Those who choose to do a rain dance to break the drought are welcome to go that route. That would be a 'brawta' on top of whatever water we have stored. Other islands and territories that are blessed with less water than us are doing a better job of providing their people with a reliable water supply. We Jamaicans are smart, we are bright. Let's get on with it.

Parthe Edwards





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