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Health Advisory for Sourcing & Using Water during Drought Conditions

March 13, 2023


In light of the prevailing drought conditions in Jamaica at this time, the Ministry of Health & Wellness advises the public to exercise heightened caution when sourcing and using water for domestic purposes, due to the potential health risk.


In times of severe water restrictions due to drought or unscheduled disruptions, water may be trucked to affected communities via the National Water Commission (NWC), Municipal Corporations bulk water carriers, or contracted private carriers. Water distributed by these providers under these conditions are safe, as they are loaded at NWC or Municipal Corporation approved sources, namely reservoirs, wells and distribution systems. 

Bulk potable (drinking) water carriers from the NWC and Municipal Corporations are monitored by the providers and the Ministry of Health & Wellness and should be:

  • Certified (certificates have expiry dates)
  • Sterilized prior to loading to prevent contamination of potable water


Private Citizens and commercial establishments that purchase water independent of the NWC and Municipal Corporations must ensure the following:

  • Water supplier is registered with the Parish Health Department
  • Water is obtained from an approved source (NWC, Municipal Corporations, private producer) monitored by Ministry of Health & Wellness
  • Transport vehicles (bulk carriers) are clearly labelled, sanitary, painted, free from leaks, and affixed with sanitary hoses, covers and valves and use specific. 



Disinfection of Water

Disinfection of water should be considered, if the consumer is in doubt or the source cannot be verified. Water can be treated in the following ways:

  1.  Boiling

Boiling is a simple way of destroying germs in water. Water should be heated until it comes to a “rolling boil” (large bubbles continuously coming to the surface of the water) which is maintained for three minutes.


  1. Applying Household Bleach


Quantity of Bleach

Quantity of Water to be Disinfected

2 drops

One (1) Quart

6 – 8 drops

One (1) US Gallon

½ Teaspoon

Five (5) Gallons


 After bleach is added, agitate vigorously and allow to stand for 30 minutes before consuming (do not use bulk bleach).