Another Day In Jamaica: Water Lock Offs

The last  few months have  been extremely dry across most the Island of Jamaica. Not only has the heat been an issue, but many people are singing and praying for the rains to fall soon. Many places have been on water lock offs/ rationed water, meaning ” no water in taps” and if you do not own a large tank you may be in for serious trouble. We are in Kingston on a schedule where we receive water in our taps three days a week.This experience has been extremely painful, but somehow we manage, with me now rushing to accomplish as many taks as possible on the water days

Hurricanes which usually bring heavy rainfalls speared Jamaica  in 2009, which was a good thing, but now a severe drought is facing the country with two of the major dams in Kingston almost near empty.

Last year for the first time in my life, I got acquainted with the dreaded “heat rash” due to the daily heat. This was clearly not a friendly experience. This year I have now been exposed to daily water “Shut offs” as taps are on go slow with “NO” water until 6am when I hear that ” trickle, trickle”

Another fun day in the tropics is my conclusion, as in two weeks time I may forget all about dry season and water lock offs, and start worrying about too much rain/ mud slides or whatever else shows up in my space

Read On:

Jamaicans have been urged to conserve water.

KINGSTON, Jamaica,  – Water restrictions are in effect in Jamaica as the country experiences a prolonged and worsening drought. Islands throughout the Caribbean are forced to deal with a similar situation with St. Lucia and Trinidad also suffering from daily water lock offs.

The National Water Commission (NWC) in Jamaica said it had introduced the rationing programme to meet the demands of consumers as some of its reservoirs were severely affected by the dry weather conditions.

One of the main reservoirs, Heritage Dam, which normally holds about 393 million gallons, is at  25 per cent capacity and the NWC said it was “a critically low level”.

In a prohibition notice, the Commission warned customers against using water for non-essential purposes such as irrigation and watering gardens, lawns and grounds; filling or supplying tanks, ponds, baths or swimming pools other than dipping tanks for cattle, elevated reserve tanks that do not exceed 200 gallons and are connected to household sewerage or water supply system; watering or washing roadways, pavements, paths, garages, out rooms or vehicles; or any other purpose which may require the use of a considerable or excessive quantity of water.

The tightened measures are in addition to restrictions implemented earlier this month which have seen customers experiencing no water or low water pressure conditions from 8pm to 5:30 am and 10 am to 4 pm daily.

Anyone who does not abide by the prohibition notice could be fined by the court or face up to 30 days in jail.

The Office of Disaster and Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM) has also urged all Jamaicans to conserve water.

Moving To Jamaica FAQ’s

Moving to Jamaica FAQ’s by American Retiree  who lives in Montegobay  Jamaica
By John Casey

Published Oct 1, 2004 @

1. Can non-citizens purchase property?
Yes, no restriction that I am aware of.

2. What are the mortgage rates?
As of Sept. 2004, one bank quoted me a rate of 17.2%.

3. Is it a sellers or buyer market?
Buyers market. Many homes are on the market for months before they are sold.

4. Would it be cost effective to purchase a home and rent it out until I retire?
That would depend on where the house is and the value of the house. One thing to be aware of as an absentee landlord is someone needs to be visible to protect your interests.

5. Are there any real estate agents in the area?
There are several in Montego Bay including a Century 21 agent. Most property is not listed in the paper. The agents will show you homes based on your price range.

6. Is there a vandalism problem with foreign own property?
No. Vandalism is very low and not related to nationality.

7. What kind of medical facilities are there?
Montego Bay has a large hospital. There are also several clinics in the area. Most routine testing can be done locally without going to Kingston. At least one of the clinics will airlift you to the South Miami Hospital in case of a life threatening problem.

8. Is there homeowners insurance including flood and hurricane coverage?
Yes, but expensive. If your house is made of blocks, there isn’t much to burn or blow away. Flood concerns would be mainly on the coast and some rivers.

9. What kind of medical insurance is available?
Blue Cross has a 20/80 program which is very reasonable.

10. What kind of automobile insurance is available?
The coverage is similar to the states but less expensive after the first year. Previous driving records are required from your state or insurance company.

11. How safe is it to live in Jamaica?
Most houses are fenced and gated. The windows and doors usually have decorative grating on them. Home invasion is extremely low.

12. Are groceries expensive?
That depends on what you purchase. Imported items from the USA are more expensive than domestic. Some of the same brands in the states are available in Jamaica but come through other countries. Jamaica has several large food companies with excellent quality products.

13. What kind of stores are available for hardware, groceries and clothing?
There are several large full service hardware stores with building supplies. Jamaica has 2 grocery store chains and numerous independent stores. Good quality clothing stores can be found throughout the city, however, selection is more restrictive than the USA.

14. Are there large shopping malls?
Not as you know them. There are several shopping plazas with a variety of shops.

15. What are the water rates?
It all depends on your consumption. With septic systems instead of a municipal sewer system, the rates are low.

16. What about electricity costs?
The costs are similar to the states.

17. Is gasoline expensive?
The cost is higher than in the states but there is less driving in Jamaica.

16. Can I purchase new or used automobiles?
Yes, but the cost includes a high duty tariff. Bringing you own car would be subject to the same high duty rate.

18. Is maid service expensive?
No. Maid service can be anything from once a week to live-in, with separate quarters.

19. Are Jamaicans good workers?
Usually. If you find one who is not, there are many more to choose from.

20. Are there reasonably priced restaurants nearby?
Most of the dine-in restaurants are located in the tourist area as many hotels are not all-inclusive. There is a wide range of prices between them.

21. Is there more of Jamaica that can be seen once the normal tours are exhausted?
Yes. There are countless places to see that most tourists aren’t interested in seeing. All you need is a knowledgeable guide to find those hidden jewels.

22. Can anyone move to Jamaica?
Jamaican immigrations allows you to stay up to 6 months at a time unless you apply for permanent residency. This is a three year process. Each of those 3 years you must reapply until you become a permanent resident.

23. Can I seek employment in Jamaica?
Not normally. The exception would be if you had a particular skill not found in Jamaica. If that was the case, a work permit would be required.

24. What is your life like in Jamaica?
Daily life is the same as it would be in the states but in a different setting.

25. Do you return to the states often?
Usually about once a year.

26. What do you like best about living in Jamaica?
There are many things that make living here great but the stress-free life is what I like best.

27. What do you like least about living in Jamaica?
Not being able to understand their dialect called “patois”, which is a mix of French, Creole and English. All communications in the business place is in proper English. Only in the street will you hear them conversing in “patois”.

Childrens Home in Kingston Burned> Sad Indeed

Mustard Seed home one of the many Childrens’ homes in Jamaica was razed last night. I am uncertain about the reasons  behind the recent increase in fires, but this one has been most troubling for me.

The Kingston area has been experiencing a severe drought, yet many individuals continue to “burn rubbish ” which means the burning of garbage in ones backyard or open lot. Who really knows!!!

Read on

Patrick Foster
Jamaican Observer
Tuesday, March 17, 2009

FIRE last night gutted the Mustard Seed Communities’ children’s home at 1e North Street in Kingston, leaving at least two children hospitalized.
This motor vehicle leaves the Mustard Seed Communities’ children’s home on North Street with children affected by last night’s fire at the facility. (Photo: Karl McLarty)

The cause of the blaze was unknown.

Last night, as firemen from the York Park Fire Station carried out cooling down operations, Assistant Superintendent Basil Richards said that the building was still being checked to ascertain if anyone was left inside.

Unconfirmed reports were that 30 children and two caregivers were in the two- storey wooden building when the blaze started.

“I am not certain how it happened, I just got a call that it was on fire,” Father Gregory Ramkissoon, founder and executive director of the Mustard Seed Communities, told the Observer. “The entire building is gone.”