PM Announces $150 Million Allocation to Alleviate Drought Conditions

PM Announces $150 Million Allocation to Alleviate Drought Conditions

By LaTonya Linton | Jamaica Information Service

The Government has allocated $150 million to facilitate the trucking of water and procurement and distribution of a limited amount of polyethylene tanks to communities that are experiencing water challenges due to the current dry conditions.

Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, made the announcement in the House of Representatives on Tuesday (April 9).

He said that most of the funds will go towards the trucking of water.

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“We will keep a small reserve where we see we need to have emergency procurement of water tanks. The Government already has in place, a water tank program, so we’re not going to replicate it,” Mr. Holness said.

The Prime Minister informed that 50 constituencies, mostly in rural areas, will benefit from the support, with each constituency to receive $1.5 million.

Some constituencies will receive an additional $2.5 million, with $5 million for the corresponding municipal corporation.

These are Clarendon South West, South East, Central, North West, North Central, and North; St. Elizabeth North East, North West, South East and South West; and Westmoreland Central, East and West.

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The Hanover East and West constituencies will also receive an additional $2.5 million each, with the municipal corporation to get $7.5 million “specifically to assist in the Negril area where the issues there are significant,” the Prime Minister told the House.

St. Ann North West will also get $2.5 million and $7.5 million for the municipal corporation.

For the 13 constituencies that were not given an allocation, the Prime Minister said they will benefit from a reserve sum of $5 million should an emergency arise over the next four weeks.

He assured the citizens of Westmoreland and Hanover, particularly Negril and its environs, that the Government will provide additional support if dry conditions persist into the summer.

Mr. Holness noted the impact of the dry conditions on citizens in Brown’s Town in North West St Ann, where the situation has been compounded by the virtual collapse of the existing well system at Minard.

He noted that $30 million was provided to the National Water Commission (NWC) in March to facilitate emergency response in Brown’s Town and areas of Hanover and Westmoreland.

He said that work is advanced in correcting the system failure impacting Brown’s Town, and St. Elizabeth and Clarendon have also received additional support.

In addition, Mr. Holness informed that the Ministry of Local Government and Community Development has been allocated $100 million for trucking, and the parish councils “are also giving support for trucking to affected communities”.

Prime Minister Holness said that the measures being undertaken are expected to be short-term, as rainfall is anticipated starting the end of April into May.

He told the House that storage capacity at the Hermitage Dam and the Mona Reservoir are currently at 79.1 per cent (331/393 million gallons per day) and 77 per cent (676/809 million gallons per day, respectively.

During last year’s historic drought, at this time, the Hermitage Dam was at 40 per cent and the Mona Dam was at 54 per cent of capacity, he noted.

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