Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : August 21st 2014 Contents A18
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Although arrangements have been made to
truck water to schools given the current water
crisis, Education Minister Ronald Thwaites has
said that parents may also be called upon to pro-
vide their children with sufficient water for drink-
ing and for sanitary purposes when schools
reopen in September.
"We have to put some responsibility on parents
and students to bring drinking water, and, on
occasions, to bring water enough to wash hands
and to flush the toilet," the minister told The
It takes approximately five gallons of water to
flush old-style toilets and two gallons for newer
He said that while doing this might inconven-
ience some parents, it was a practical suggestion
that could become a reality as Jamaica continued
to grapple with drought conditions.
"We hope it doesn t come to that, but if the
school doesn t have water, what is more important?
To have the school continue, with the added burden
of taking some water, or to throw up your hands?"
the minister asked.
"Education is absolutely the first priority, and
we must not find any reason or every reason to
suspend it," he said.
Everton Hannam, president of the National Par-
ent-Teacher Association of Jamaica, said while it
was the responsibility of the Ministry of Education
and the National Water Commission (NWC) to
ensure that schools had an adequate water supply,
parents also have a role to play in minimising the
possible effect the water shortage might have on
"Taking into consideration the situation where
we are at with the extreme drought and the options
that exist of either not sending our children to
school or sending them ill-prepared, then, at this
time, we would support whatever proposals are
being put forward by the
Government," he said.
Thwaites said he had been
assured by Water Minister
Robert Pickersgill that water
would be trucked to schools
affected by the drought.
The education minister
also called upon school
administrators who need
financial assistance to estab-
lish better rainwater harvest-
ing to inform the ministry.
Thwaites said that while
things may be better in west-
ern parishes, where there has
been increased rainfall, the
effects of a water shortage
affecting schools could be
more chronic in the Corporate
Jamaican students told to
bring water to flush toilets
Corporate communications manager for the
NWC, Charles Buchanan, told The Gleaner
yesterday that despite a few days of rainfall
last week, there had not been much
improvement in the country's water supply.
"It is still severe, and, in some places,
worsening," he said.
The inflow into the Hope filter plant, for
example, has fallen below 2.5 million gallons
per day, way below the six million gallons that
Buchanan also said the Mona Reservoir was
not receiving any water from the Hope River,
which, originally, was its primary and only
"At the moment, for example, we are at
some 48 per cent of capacity at the Hermitage
Dam and some 25 per cent at the Mona
Reservoir. We would have been a little above
that at both facilities prior to the brief
episodes (of rain)," he said.
Buchanan said both rural and Corporate Area
water systems were under pressure and this
was likely to increase for the reopening of
"It is likely to increase the challenges with
which we will be faced, and so some additional
mechanisms will need to be put in place to
mitigate, but unavoidably, it is likely that
increased demand for water in certain
specified locations will create some additional
pressures and challenges for our system," he
Education Minister Ronald Thwaites
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