02 May 2021
SINGING IN THE RAIN: IMPROVING ACCESS TO WATER AND ADAPTING TO CLIMATE CHANGE IN CLARENDON, JAMAICA

Eurica Douglas is one of Jamaica's real life heroes. With an infectious laugh and an alluring lilt to her voice that hints at the joy she draws from her work and purpose, Eurica Douglas, a lawyer-turned-social-worker, has been supporting the needs of communities in Jamaica’s Clarendon Parish for more than 20 years. Through her unfailing optimism she draws people in. Coupled with a confident and forceful mien and her commitment to improving community sustainability, Eurica’s work with the Clarendon Parish Development Committee has touched many lives.

The small communities of Pleasant Valley and White Chapel are located in the southern part of Jamaica’s Clarendon Parish and are home to approximately 1,500 people. With so few inhabitants there is an absence of government supplied potable water, as relevant agencies tend to prioritize water supply to larger community settlements. For these isolated communities the struggle for water and the impacts of severe dry seasons are everyday realities. During the dry season, the cost of truck-borne water significantly increases, rendering it prohibitively expensive for these rural communities.

The stop-gap solution requires women and children – primary household water gatherers – to walk as much as 5km (30-40 minutes) each way to access water from the nearest standpipe or water source. Aside from the significant opportunity cost that hours of seeking water entails, the difficulty in securing water also impacts domestic health, sanitation, and livelihoods.

To address the ongoing water shortages, in 2012 Pleasant Valley embarked on a project to strengthen their water security and enhance their resilience to climate change impacts. With Eurica’s unwavering guidance, and support from SGP Jamaica, the project quickly began to improve the community’s access to water and management of their natural resources. Subsequent to project completion in 2013, the community has not gone a single day without water. Read the full story to find out how this impressive result was achieved.

hyacinth douglas jamaica nc left and eurica douglas right project coordinator 2560x1707