Friday 30 October, 2020

NWC urges water conservation heading into drought period amid COVID-19

Andrew Canon

Andrew Canon

The National Water Commission (NWC) is urging consumers to implement water conservation practices in anticipation of an extended drought period throughout the summer months.

As at April 23, the Hermitage Dam was at 79.67 per cent of its capacity, while the Mona Reservoir was at 74.3 per cent of its capacity.

Corporate Public Relations Manager at the NWC, Andrew Canon, told JIS News that conservation is vital at this time.

“Approximately 48 hours ago, those capacities were in the region of a little above 80 per cent. That tells you that the capacities are falling. We are now in the month of April. We are not yet in the summer months, and we do not know as yet if we are going to have a prolonged dry spell. Therefore, we have to continue existing restrictions so that the country has water during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and beyond,” he advised.

Water restrictions in the Corporate Area have been ongoing as part of the NWC’s conservation activities.

Canon said the situation is exacerbated by additional burden on the systems as citizens remain in their homes as part of mandatory social distancing and also stay-at-home protocols put in place by the Government to slow the spread of COVID-19.

“Jamaicans should be aware that we have to take all steps necessary to ensure that we have enough water to serve throughout the drought period. It is even more critical at this time as the country is going through the COVID-19 pandemic. With that pandemic, persons need water to wash their hands and carry out other hygiene practices. Therefore, it is imperative that water is not wasted and is conserved as best as possible,” he emphasised.

Despite the challenges, Canon said the utility company will continue to provide the vital service to critical institutions.

“Throughout the period, we have taken the decision that there are certain critical institutions that ought not to be without water, and these include health centres, clinics and hospitals,” he noted.

Canon said the NWC is aware of the challenges that are being faced by communities that are without water, and that the NWC has been actively working to provide the commodity to such residents, particularly in light of the public health emergency.

He said the NWC has ramped up its distribution mechanisms through the engagement of private contractors, and has increased the number of loading bays.

“Scheduled trucking of water is done every day to (select) communities and parishes across the island. This trucking of water has to be ramped up in light of COVID-19. We must stress as well that even though we truck water, we have to assess where the trucks go, and when we truck. Water is a limited resource, so we have to prioritise,” he indicated.

Additionally, he said the commission is committed to doing all it can to assist customers through the present difficult period.

“We are sympathetic to persons who are without water at this time, because we know the critical importance of water. That is why we will not be doing disconnections for late payment or for persons who are in arears,” Canon stated.

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