Omar Wright, Lead, Environment & Community Development at the JN Foundation, said a concerted effort needs to be made for a balance between sustainable water management and socio-economic development for the nation’s future resilience.

He warned that without immediate action, Jamaica’s precious natural resources and ecosystems are at risk of irreversible damage, threatening both environmental stability and socio-economic well-being.

“We [the JN Foundation] had a water summit in 2021, and we called on the Government of Jamaica to set a minimum standard, to ensure that every housing development is outfitted with water efficient features and fittings. We are still calling and advocating for this,” he pointed out.

Mr. Wright made the appeal recently while addressing the Rotary Club of Trafalgar New Heights meeting. His presentation was entitled ‘Navigating the waters: the intersection of water management and environmental conservation’.

At the forefront of this call, Mr Wright said there is a pressing need for collaboration among all stakeholders. Recognising the interconnectedness of water resources with all aspects of life, persons are urged to set aside differences and work towards a common goal: safeguarding Jamaica’s water for generations to come.

“It is important that the government, policymakers, businesses, and communities work together for a resilient future,” he said. “If we don’t manage our water resources carefully, we will see the side of humanity that will be plunged into [water] war,” he said.

Jamaica, like many other nations, is grappling with the repercussions of climate change, population growth and unsustainable practices that strain its water resources. From diminishing water supplies to degraded ecosystems, the signs of stress are evident. However, amidst these challenges, Mr Wright said there is an opportunity for transformation.

“We have to ensure that we are managing the water resources in such a way that future generations will have access to water, and we can indeed be the land of wood and water,” he said.

Mr Wright urged members of the Rotary Club of Trafalgar New Heights to advocate for water conservation initiatives. “Lend your voice and support to entities, institutions, and initiatives that are pushing for conservation of the environment. Find something that you are passionate about in the environmental sphere and lend your support,” he said.

He also encouraged businesses to adopt water-efficient technologies and practices, not only as a means of reducing operational costs, but as a commitment to corporate social responsibility. Mr Wright said communities are also encouraged to embrace water-saving habits and participate in local conservation efforts, recognising their role as custodians of Jamaica’s water resources.

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