Rock Hall Community Gets Thirty-year-old Tank Repaired

With climate change raising temperatures and sparking droughts across the Caribbean (and of course globally), access to water and the conservation of water are becoming increasingly critical factors for communities across the island. Many water storage and distribution systems, especially in rural areas, are old and outdated. Several entities are currently working on water concerns locally, and the Jamaica Rural Economy and Ecosystems Adapting to Climate Change II (Ja REEACH II) funded by USAID is one of them. Here is some information received today regarding their most recent project, in partnership with the local Municipal Council.

Rock Hall Community Gets Thirty-year-old Tank Repaired

(Portland, Jamaica; May 29, 2018) Residents of the Rock Hall community in Portland are now in high spirits following the rehabilitation of their communal water tank, which was out of service for more than thirty years. The USAID-funded Jamaica Rural Economy and Ecosystems Adapting to Climate Change II (Ja REEACH II) and the Portland Municipal Council commissioned the water harvesting facility on Friday, May 25, 2018.

The refurbished 110,000 – gallon water tank which was repaired for approximately J$3 million, will serve the domestic needs of an estimated 600 persons in Rock Hall and other surrounding communities.

Rock Hall has been negatively impacted by drought and intermittent water supply for many years. The Rock Hall Benevolent Society participated in a series of climate change sensitization workshops, led by the Ja REEACH II Project in which they learned about climate risks. During this process, they selected rehabilitation of the tank as one of the risk-reducing measures in response to drought, thus strengthening the community’s resilience in the face of climate change threats associated with unpredictable rainfall patterns. The group received funding from the project and technical assistance provided by the Portland Municipal Corporation to refurbish the communal facility.

Acting USAID Mission Director Andrew Colburn (third from left) cuts the ribbon officially commissioning the refurbished water harvesting facility to the applause of (left) Councillor Stephen Williams Councillor for the St. Margaret’s Bay Division, President of the Rock Hall Benevolent Society, Byron Papley and students from the Rock Hall Primary School. (Photo: JA REEACH II)

Senior Director in the Ministry of Local Government and Community Development, Joan Thomas-Levy commended the timeliness of the project for the community. “Due to competing priorities and financial constraints over the years we have not been able to fulfill all the requirements, so some people suffer from the lack of this important public good. This is a timely intervention which will help to alleviate the hardships that the community members face. Portland has a lot of water but there aren’t enough systems to store that water for future use so this rehabilitation is timely.” reiterated Thomas-Levy.

“Now that the tank is repaired the community is very excited about it. We still have water problems, as the current water supply is not consistent. The main source is not always available to people in the community as it is a good distance away and serves other communities. We now have our own supply to meet the domestic and irrigation needs when water is scarce. Just as how Martin Luther King had a dream…this is our dream coming to reality,” stated Samuel Ashley, Secretary of the Rock Hall Benevolent Society.

 

 

 

The Ja REEACH II project is a four-year initiative funded by the USAID and implemented by ACDI/VOCA.  Through a range of interventions, Ja REEACH II works with government, the private sector, civil society and community-based organizations to increase awareness and application of practical actions that help Jamaicans to become more resilient to the impacts of climate change.

Jamaica Rural Economy and Ecosystems Adapting to Climate Change II (Ja REEACH II) Project, 1A Braemar Avenue, Kingston 10, Jamaica, W.I.  Contact: Dainalyn Swaby, Communications Coordinator. Tel: (876) 946-1602-3 l Cell: (876) 382-3778 |Fax: (876) 946-1604 Email: dswaby@jareeach.org


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