Water shortage impending?

The air in Kingston is scorched and dry. We haven’t had substantial rain for what seems like weeks. Lawns are brown and the dust is drifting and swirling above the ground all the time. I saw evidence of this lack of water on my run this morning at the Mona Reservoir. (As well as a curious lack of cars; usually there are about a dozen belonging to people who work there, today there were two). It is at the lowest level I have ever seen in more than two years of running there. According to the National Water Commission, it is at 37 per cent (the other major dam that services Kingston is at 21 per cent.)

The National Water Commission is warning business owners and homeowners that they mustn’t use water for plants or car washes etc. Apparently, demand for water on a daily basis is about 14 million gallons, and the water processing plant is able lately only to process about 6 million per day. As I ran past a car wash run by some Rastas who also sell fruit and jerk, I wondered how they will fare. One businessman has already vowed not to respect the restrictions, instead he will pay the $1,000 daily fine that is being threatened. From a Gleaner story:

“I guess my guys will have to go rob and steal to feed their families when they lock off the water,” said one car wash operator, adding that the business was the main source of income for his 14-member workforce.

In any case, let’s hope it rains. It seems every afternoon that it might: it gets hazy and a little bit more humid, but the rain never comes.

The Gleaner today is arguing for the privatization of the National Water Commission based on the fact that it is insolvent and inefficient and fundamentally unable to regard the provision of water as a “critically strategic asset.” If true, this is a good point, as is the point that residents can do a better job of preserving water and restricting its usage.

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