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Waste of water in drought-hit Jamaica is now punishable by jail term

May 23, 2019 at 02:00 pm | News

Ismail Akwei

Ismail Akwei | Contributor

May 23, 2019 at 02:00 pm | News

In the face of drought, the Caribbean country of Jamaica has imposed a fine or prison term of up to 30 days on people convicted of wasting water or using excessive amounts of potable water for non-essential purposes.

The prohibition order which takes effect on Friday was published in newspapers on Tuesday and confirmed by the National Water Commission (NWC) which will take action if the law is broken, Caribbean360 reported.

The NWC supplies water to drought-hit parishes including Kingston, St Andrew, Portland, St Mary and St. Elizabeth where it warns consumers to use the limited potable water for only essential uses such as drinking, cooking, washing, bathing and sanitation or face the law.

Persons who break the law may be prosecuted; and if convicted, they are liable to a fine imposed by the parish courts or imprisonment for up to 30 days if they fail to pay the fine, it announced.

Use of supplied water for watering gardens, lawns, grounds and farms; refilling of tanks, ponds, or swimming pools and/or for use other than normal domestic services; washing of vehicles by the use of a hose; watering or washing roadways, pavements, paths, garages; and any purpose which may require the use of a considerable or excessive quantity of water are a breach of the law, the NWC added.

“We’re hoping that it will serve to persuade persons to do the right thing and in instances where persons persist in doing the wrong thing, we would have the force of law to support us in taking action against them,” said the NWC Corporate Communications Manager Charles Buchanan.

He explained that the prohibition order should be a clear signal to the population that it is now illegal, if not unfair to waste water which is limited, Caribbean360 reported.

The Jamaican government has allocated an additional J$100 million (US$743,496) for the distribution of water to the parishes affected by the drought.

Drought is recurrent in Jamaica in the past decade and it gets worse every year with less than average rainfall patterns.

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