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Trucking schedule developed to combat Portland drought

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

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KINGSTON, Jamaica — Member of Parliament for Western Portland, Daryl Vaz, says that a $10 million water trucking schedule has been developed to combat drought in the parish.

Vaz, in his address to Parliament today, highlighted concerns about the dry conditions in parish and other areas across the island.

The Meteorological (Met) Service of Jamaica last week said a drought watch remains in effect for Portland, while sections of St Catherine and Clarendon are on a drought alert. The warnings have been in place since last Friday, July 6.

Vaz said data from the Met Service indicated that for the second month running, Portland was experiencing early stages of drought with moderate dryness.

He said Portland was primarily a cause for concern because it was the greenest parish “by virtue of the vast natural resource of accumulated rainfall received each year”.

“North-eastern parishes, including Portland, are the source of most of the water that serves the Corporate Area of Kingston and St Andrew from the Hermitage Dam,” Vaz added.

The National Water Commission today indicated that storage levels at the Hermitage Dam have been falling gradually over the past few months with the reduction in intake due to lower rainfall and now stands at approximately 52 per cent of capacity.

Meanwhile, Vaz said that the Portland water trucking schedule is to run from July to September.

“This will cost approximately J$10 million. Funding is being sought from the Ministries of Economic Growthand Job Creation as well as Local Government & Community Development,” he said.

Vaz added that consideration is also being given to convening a National Drought Committee to place attention on strategies that may need to be employed should the island be forced into a more widespread drought situation.

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