With drought conditions worsening across the island, the authorities are turning to untapped sources of water.

Plans are underway to remove over one million cubic meters of sand, gravel and silt from the Hermitage Dam in West Rural St. Andrew.

They’re also moving to clean up the contaminated groundwater in the aquifer below the Corporate Area.

Yesterday Water and Environment Minister, Robert Pickersgill told the Parliament that the country was facing a water crisis!

He warned that more water restrictions are coming.

Head of the Meteorological Service, Jeffrey Spooner, says the severe drought affecting Jamaica may extend well into next year.

The authorities were expecting some reprieve from the May/June rainy season, but the June rains never came, meaning the July/August dry season will be challenging.

And they’re warning that it will get worse.

Vice President of Operations at the National Water Commission, NWC, Mark Blair, says there’ve been no major inflows into the Hermitage and Mona Reservoir since December last year.

He says the NWC has been operating under emergency conditions since February.

As a result, the water utility is moving to tap into water sources that are now trapped or contaminated.

De-silting the Hermitage Dam should free up another 2-hundred million gallons of water a day. That’s another 25 to 30 days of storage.

The process is scheduled to begin in December and should take 8 to 10 months, during which time, Blair says water quality and access will not be affected.

In the meantime, the process of de-nitrification is expected to begin producing water in the next few days.

But will it be enough to meet the demand heading into a dry summer, and a drier than usual fourth quarter?

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