~~At the last session of the regular Full Council Meeting of the Clarendon Parish Council on Thursday, July 10, 2014 councillors pressed the National Water Commission for answers about its plans to address the severe shortage of domestic water affecting thousands of households across the parish. Councillors were reacting to a report by NWC’s Parish Operations Manager, Noel Kennedy that the NWC had been forced to reduce the trucking of domestic water due to the unavailability of funds.
Kennedy explained that the NWC will no longer be able to undertake large-scale trucking of water in the parish and will be concentrating on servicing high-density residential areas and critical institutions such as schools, hospitals and health centres on a needs-basis.
The bill payment history of households, he says, will be an important factor in determining which customers benefit from the trucking of domestic water during the period of severe drought currently being experienced across the parish. According to Kennedy customers requesting the service would have had to pay their last bill in order to be granted priority.
Mayor Scean Barnswell says while the Council has assisted NWC customers during dry periods in the past through its Minor Water program it is unable to extend the service this time around as the Council is facing severe resource constraints and has seen an increase in the number of requests from its regular rural customers.
In the meantime the Clarendon Parish Council joins with the Ministry of Water, Land, Environment and Climate Change in urging householders to conserve on their water usage by avoiding non-essential activities such as the washing of vehicles and watering of lawns.
Clarendon has received less than 27% of its thirty-year historic average of rainfall for the month of June with the Meteorological Service reporting a 24% average for the eight-week period between April and May. According to the Meteorological Service Jamaica’s Drought Index (a comparison of rainfall over eight consecutive weeks with the thirty-year historical averages) Clarendon is the only parish that experienced drought conditions during the period. Reports indicate that the northern sections of the parish present the severest case of water shortage with the Rock River community being the worst-affected.