Water Minister Robert Pickersgill says the National Water Commission and the Ministry of Local Government will be working overtime to supply water to drought stricken parishes so that the new school term will commence as smoothly as possible.
Education Minister Ronald Thwaites has stated in the media that students may have to take water from home to drink, wash their hands and even flush toilets.
Minister Pickersgill says he’s aware that critical institutions such as schools and hospitals, could be impacted by the ongoing dry period especially at the opening of the new school term.
Minister Pickersgill says the most recent information from the Meteorological Service is that St. Elizabeth, Manchester, Clarendon, St. Catherine and Kingston and St. Andrew, as well as the North Eastern Parishes of St. Mary, Portland, and St. Thomas, are experiencing severe to extreme drought.
The projection is for these parishes to continue to receive below normal rainfall.
In light of this, Mr. Pickersgill says the Ministry is paying special attention to the reopening of schools, as well as hospitals and infirmaries especially in those communities that are adversely affected by the severe drought.
Minister Pickersgill says the NWC has been assisting some schools in the Corporate Area, that are experiencing challenges with their supply, by providing a number of storage tanks to these institutions.
But he says all schools should establish additional facilities for storage, so that in the absence of regular supplies, water may be supplied to them and stored.
The Prime Minister has instructed that a meeting be held among the Ministries of Water, Education, Health, Local Government and Agriculture, after which a more comprehensive statement on the situation will be issued early next week.