The manifest problem of global warming and the puzzling unpredictability of global change do not alleviate the present dilemma of the urgent scarcity of potable water in Jamaica. It is imperative that the Government shares with the people of Jamaica what are its plans, if any, concerning those two problems. While probably related, each problem requires a different strategy.
Global warming is a slow universal operation that requires sustained international cooperative ventures for the foreseeable future. Industrial countries must reduce air pollution sharply as well as the widespread use of fossil fuels. Everyone everywhere must expand the use of renewable energy agents like the wind, sun, water and underground thermal sources. Bigger, richer countries must do more, but every country has a part to play. At stake are not just one country or one area, but the entire globe and all humanity.
For Jamaica, planning to accommodate the expected increase in sea level resulting from global warming should begin now.
The second problem can be handled locally. The perpetual shortage of available potable water is a relatively recent phenomenon. Jamaica still relies on the system designed long ago to supply about half-a-million people. Now the population is almost six times as much. Clearly, new measures must be found to keep the water flowing.
Some of this should be the building of new reservoirs and the cleaning of the existing ones. But even more effective would be the mandatory requirement that all multi-family residences build tanks with the capacity to store at least three months' supply of water for the entire building. Measures like these should alleviate the awful periodic water shortages that currently plague most of the island.