NWC Corporate Communications Manager Charles Buchanan
The National Water Commission (NWC) has issued a prohibition order making it a prosecutable offence to waste water or use excessive amounts of potable water for non-essential purposes.
The order will take effect on Friday.
This is in response to the worsening dry spell which has caused a major water shortage in sections of the island.
In a news release on Tuesday, the NWC said more stringent water conservation measures must now be observed.
It explained that the limited potable water available should be reserved for essential purposes such as drinking, cooking, washing, bathing and sanitation.
"The prohibition notice that the Commission normally publishes in time of extreme drought is usually intended to send a signal to the population to indicate that not only is it not right to be wasting water from an already limited supply, but it is also now not legal. We're hoping that it will serve to persuade persons to do the right thing and in instances where persons persist in doing the wrong thing, we would have the force of law to support us in taking action against them," NWC Corporate Communications Manager Charles Buchanan pointed out.
Some of the breaches of the prohibition order include using NWC supplied water in a drought affected area to water gardens or lawns, using potable water to irrigate farms, refilling ponds and swimming pools, washing motor vehicles with a continuously running hose, using NWC supplied water to wash down walkways, "or in any other way that they choose to use treated water in an excessive manner for something that is not considered essential."
Mr. Buchanan said the offences are punishable by a fine imposed by parish courts.
Failure to pay the fine will result in imprisonment of up to 30 days.
Drought affected facilities
The NWC, in the meantime, said the drought conditions are affecting its Endeavour facility in St. James and the New Milns plant in Hanover.
As a result, customers will continue to experience intermittent supply, low water pressure or no water.
In St. James, the areas affected include: Hampton, Hopeton, Mount Horeb, Fern, Rushea, Plum and Barnett Bush.
Hanover communities affected are: New Mills, Welcome, Cacoon, Nyere Farm, Haddington, Watford Hill, Woodland and surrounding areas.
The NWC is urging customers to store water for use.