Climate change is real in Jamaica, says Samuda Loop Jamaica

The content originally appeared on: Jamaica News Loop News

With the impacts of climate change now causing rising temperatures in Jamaica, Cabinet Minister, Senator Matthew Samuda, says the issue is affecting the country’s water supply systems.

Amid such developments, the Government is working to address the issues facing the country’s water infrastructure, according to Samuda, who is the Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation with responsibility for water, climate change and the environment.

Speaking at the commissioning of a $180 million portable water system in St Elizabeth on Thursday, Samuda said climate change has exacerbated some existing issues, especially in coastal communities.

“So, (in) coastal communities… the issue of climate change is real. It is a practical real threat to the survival of citizens, to the survival of our way of life,” he stated.

The minister explained that the increase in temperature is already affecting Jamaica’s water supply, prompting “higher rates of evaporation” at water storage facilities.

“Now, climate change is real in Jamaica. This increase in temperature is already prompting higher rates of evaporation at our (water) storage facilities. It is already increasing the demand for portable irrigation and other water,” he explained.

“We have a challenge, and then here comes (the) climate change issue, not of our making, that has changed our weather pattern,” added Samuda.

He said Jamaica underinvested in its water supply systems for 40 years, but assured that the current Government is working to address the issues.

“We’ve done a lot of work to steady the balance sheet of the NWC (National Water Commission) that has facilitated the space now to make unprecedented investments, but that still means we’re playing catch-up,” said Samuda.

The newly commissioned water system in St Elizabeth is to serve the Billy’s Bay and Fort Charles areas at the western end of the Treasure Beach strip in the parish, providing much-needed relief to residents there.

Samuda expressed satisfaction with the project, stating that, “I shouldn’t have been the minister who is commissioning this system. This should have happened long before I joined politics, but I am happy that I am able to play a role in improving the space.”