Caribbean News

JAMAICA: Government targets universal access to potable water by 2030

Kingston, April 29, 2019 – Jamaica – The Government is working to achieve 100 per cent access to safe, drinking water for all Jamaicans by 2030, while ensuring the sustainability of future supplies.

The objective is in keeping with the National Development Plan, which aims to make Jamaica the place of choice to live, work, raise families and do business.

Programme Director, Vision 2030 Jamaica Secretariat, Elizabeth Emanuel, tells JIS News that the vision for the water sector, as contained in the development plan, is one in which “we have integrated, sustainable water resource development and management, along with adequate and safe water supply and sanitation to support economic and social development.”

She notes that while there has been a significant increase in the percentage of households with piped water, from 61 per cent in 1990 to approximately 80.1 per cent in 2015, the Government is committed to ensuring that the entire population has access to the important resource.

“Access needs to be more than that. We should have by 2030, 100 per cent of persons having access to water,” she says.

Ms. Emanuel notes that a number of activities are being undertaken over the medium-term, from 2018 to 2021 “all geared towards improving access, protecting ecosystems and ensuring sustainability of future water supplies.”

These include finalising the National Policy on Sustainable Financing for Wastewater Management and the Jamaica Water Resources Master Plan, completing and promulgating the Water Sector Policy and Action Plan, as well as implementing the Integrated Management of the Yallahs and Hope River Watershed Management Areas project.

Other activities are updating the National Watersheds Management Policy and strengthening of the country’s infrastructure for the production treatment, storage of water as well as for sanitation, to address both urban and rural needs.

Ms. Emanuel says an important objective is increasing the financial base for future water and sanitation needs.  This, she notes, will enhance the country’s capacity to effectively plan and manage the development and use of the island’s water resources and the ability to make clear, strategic decisions for the allocation of limited water resources.

The plan also seeks to develop an institutional framework that allows for efficient and effective management of water sources.  Ms. Emanuel tells JIS News that in the implementation of activities “we will seek to ensure stakeholder participation in planning and managing the development and use of the island’s water resources in a sustainable way, recognising the linkages between water and sustainable prosperity.”

“One of the aims of the plan is to build capacity to address natural hazards and adapt to climate change mechanisms to protect water resources and ecosystems, such as our forests and watersheds…in other words ‘climate-proofing’ our fresh water ecosystems,” she adds. 

Ms. Emanuel points out that water, sanitation and hygiene are linked to supporting human health, protecting eco systems and the natural environment, ensuring food security and reducing poverty.  She is urging industries, in particular, to practice sustainable consumption and production measures.

“Industries must develop and implement environmental management systems… underpinned by the principles of sustainability and give due consideration to people, planet and profitability,” she says.

“We need to recognise, as a country, the important linkages between efficiency, profitability and environmental conservation…we all have an interest and an economic opportunity in using and managing our water resources wisely and in a sustainable way,” she adds.

Vision 2030 Jamaica is a strategic road map designed to place the country on a pathway to achieving its goals of sustainable development and prosperity by 2030.  Vision 2030 Jamaica is guided by seven principles that firmly place the people of the country at the forefront of the nation’s development strategy.

These principles are transformational leadership; partnership; transparency and accountability; social cohesion; equity; sustainability (economic, social and environmental); and sustainable urban and rural development.

Contact: Rochelle Williams

Release: JIS

Photo Caption: Programme Director, Vision 2030 Jamaica Secretariat, Elizabeth Emanuel.

JIS File Photo

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