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Pay-as-you-go for water


SHERRYLYN CLARKE, [email protected]

Pay-as-you-go for water

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KINGSTON, Jamaica (CMC) – Jamaica is considering implementing a programme that would result in water tanks being provided to householders in drought-prone and difficult to reach communities, which will be filled on a pay-as-you-go or prepaid basis.
Minister of State in the Ministry of Water, Land, Environment and Climate Change (WLECC), Ian Hayles said the National Water Commission (NWC) is giving consideration to the innovative programme.
“We’re looking at a range of (options) because we have to deal with the drought problem,” he said.
He said the project would function under a system that would allow the householder to pay for a tank of water at the local bill payment agency and the NWC will supply and fill the tank with the householder paying the cost overtime.
Hayles said the pre-paid method would also be useful for remote areas that the NWC is unable to adequately supply.
 “If we can give you a tank and fill that tank whenever they need water, surely that would be a solution,” he said, adding that the idea behind the strategy is to facilitate a greater sense of individual responsibility in the use of domestic water.
“We’ve tried the collective approach but somebody has to pay for providing that water. What we’re looking at now is individual responsibility in terms of providing the tank and the water,” he stated.
Hayles said that because of the tight fiscal constraints, the government has to be doing a lot of reconfiguring while meeting the needs of its citizens. Using this approach would enable it to meet its obligation of bringing potable water to more Jamaicans islandwide.
“I have given the Rural Water Supply Limited the charge to go ahead and look at it. Rural Water and NWC say they will be working together as the National Irrigation Commission has already begun to implement a similar strategy and it seems to be working,” he said, noting that if the method works with farmers, then there is no season that it cannot also be utilised for the householder.

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