Health advisory for sourcing and using water in drought conditions Loop Jamaica

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In light of the prevailing drought conditions across the country, the Ministry of Health and Wellness has issued an advisory to the public to exercise heightened caution when sourcing and using water for domestic purposes, due to the potential health risk that is involved.

The ministry said in times of severe water restrictions due to drought or unscheduled disruptions, water may be trucked to affected communities via the National Water Commission (NWC), municipal corporations bulk water carriers, or contracted private carriers. Water distributed by those providers under those conditions are said to be safe, as they are loaded at NWC or Municipal Corporation-approved sources, namely reservoirs, wells and other distribution systems.

Bulk potable (drinking) water carriers from the NWC and Municipal Corporations are said to be monitored by the providers and the Ministry of Health and Wellness, and should be:

Certified (Note that certificates have expiry dates)Sterilised prior to loading to prevent contamination of potable water

Private citizens and commercial establishments that purchase water independent of the NWC and municipal corporations are advised to ensure the following:

The water supplier is registered with the parish health departmentThe water is obtained from an approved source (NWC, municipal corporations, private producer) that is monitored by Ministry of Health and Wellness.Transport vehicles (bulk carriers) are clearly labelled, sanitary, painted, free from leaks, and affixed with sanitary hoses, covers and valves.

Disinfection of Water

Disinfection of water should be considered if the consumer is in doubt, or the source of the commodity cannot be verified. Water can be treated in the following ways:

1. Boiling

Boiling is a simple way of destroying germs in water. Water should be heated until it comes to a ‘rolling boil’ (large bubbles continuously coming to the surface of the water), which is maintained for three minutes.

2. Applying Household Bleach

Quantity of Bleach to Quantity of Water to be Disinfected

2 drops to One (1) Quart

6 – 8 drops to One (1) US Gallon

1/2 Teaspoon to Five (5) Gallons

After bleach is added, agitate vigorously and allow to stand for 30 minutes before consuming (do not use bulk bleach).

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