Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation
WRA and MET Service Sign MOU to Facilitate Hydro-Meteorological Data Sharing
The Water Resources Authority (WRA) and the Meteorological Service of Jamaica, (MET Service) this morning (July 17) signed a Memorandum of Understanding to facilitate the sharing of hydro-meteorological data and information that will allow both entities to plan for the impacts of climate change.
The project, which is funded through the Pilot Programme for Climate Resilience (PPCR), will allow both entities to receive real-time streamflow and rainfall data.
Speaking at the signing, at the offices of the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, Minister without Portfolio, Senator the Hon Pearnel Charles Jr said the new data-gathering platform will aid in minimizing the effects that will inevitably come with climate change.
“One of the important steps is for us to improve our capacity to collect and collate climate data as well as for us to improve information management and early warning capabilities. It is for us to advance this effort to build our resilience as a country in a joined-up way. This partnership to facilitate the sharing of data and information will certainly allow both entities to plan for the impacts of climate change”, he expressed.
He said the Government is “moving towards utilizing better, more proactive mechanisms that are going to allow for us to foresee what we know is bound to come and to put the country in a position to protect itself and maximise its ability to gain benefit over any damage”.
Under this MOU both parties will, among other things; Share hydro-meteorological data from rainfall, intensity and streamflow stations across the island; Support each other through the exchange of data, information and technical expertise, to include capacity building; Seek to establish, where necessary, relevant committees and/or working groups to facilitate speedy data access/transfer.
Managing Director of the Water Resources Authority, Peter Clarke, said the platform “will establish better security of life and property. It will also assist the WRA in refining floodplain maps; in conducting feasibility for Flood Early Warning Systems; and prepare flood inundation reports whenever flooding is reported across the island”.
Director of the Meteorological Service, Evan Thompson added that the Met Service will see immediate benefits from this partnership.
“The Met Service will benefit immediately from access to a platform that will allow for the visualization of data and we will be better able to see the increased levels of water on the ground. It will also help us to ground-truth the information coming from our radar”, explained Mr Thompson.
Minister Charles concluded that “as a Small Island Developing State (SID), we must ensure that our policies are driven by empirical data, not just by speculation. So, in so far as we can introduce technology that guides us of our current state and the indicative future it is always going to benefit us in crafting policy and action plans and to assist our citizens to be able to function within the developing space”.