The Government has endorsed a $738.7-million (US$5.75-million) water adaptation project being initiated by the Jamaica National (JN) Group, with loan funding support from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).

The initiative will facilitate on-lending of the funds, through JN Bank, to real estate developers to finance housing projects incorporating water-efficiency technologies that yield conservation, particularly within households, through the utilisation of key inputs.

These include rainwater harvesting systems, water-efficient taps and showers, low-flush toilets, and efficient irrigation systems.

This activity forms part of the IDB’s undertaking to promote heightened climate-change resilience in the housing sector by providing improved reliable water supplies and reducing demand for the commodity.

The loan agreement was signed by IDB Caribbean Country Manager, Therese Turner-Jones and JN Group General Manager, Earl Jarrett, at the JN Financial Centre in New Kingston on Friday, March 10.

The event was attended by Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, Hon. Dr. Horace Chang.

Dr. Chang, who has responsibility for water, welcomed the project and lauded the partnership between the implementing entities.

He noted that the IDB has been pivotal in funding enterprising engagements, such as the adaptation project, in Jamaica’s water sector.

“It (project) exemplifies the IDB’s attempt to provide innovative financing… that will help to make Jamaica more adaptable to climate change and certainly improve our capacity in terms of drought resilience,” the Minister said.

Dr. Chang also highlighted Jamaica National’s longstanding history of innovation and contribution to the local housing sector.

He said the partnership reflects a new approach for consideration and pursuit in enabling the provision of adequate water across Jamaica.

For her part, Mrs. Turner-Jones noted the “clear and present danger” posed by climate change, particularly in relation to the provision of water, adding that the focus on this area is “critical”.

“The impact of climate change is becoming more and more evident (and soon) we are going to start to feel those effects in Jamaica and in this region with even more regularity. So, anything we can do to mitigate the impact… is really important,” she said.

In his remarks, Mr. Jarrett said the importance of water has long been disregarded, with some persons treating it as “an unending stream”.

“So, part of the objective of this project is to bring a greater level of awareness to what is not an unending supply, but actually a scarce resource that we need to respect and use carefully,” he added.

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