Why the Martha Brae Is The Greatest, Most Valuable River In Jamaica

martha brae river hut

A hut on the banks of the Martha Brae River

Martha Brae River Is The Greatest

The Martha Brae is the greatest, most valuable river in Jamaica. What do we mean? It has contributed more to our national life and history than any other river. It’s sources are several tributaries that are born in the limestone filled Cockpit Country in Southern Trelawny.

The specific reason we are writing this article, is for the powers that be to recognize the value of this river. They must never allow mining in the Cockpit hills as this will have a negative impact on the lives of most Jamaicans.

The Martha Brae Never Runs Dry

The Martha Brae river is known to locals as the river that never runs dry. Even in the deepest of droughts, the Martha Brae always keeps running. It is for this reason that the NWC and the Water Resources Authority, will be exploring the feasibility of distributing water from the North Western parishes of Trelawny and St. Ann, to areas of need in the southern and eastern sections of the island. The island is currently in the midst of a terrible drought, but the Martha Brae keeps on flowing.

 

Biggest Source of Piped Water to Western Jamaica?

The Martha Brae is so generous in terms of water volume, that in addition to supplying water to the home parish of Trelawny, service was expanded to provide water for neighbouring parish of St. James, even though St. James itself has 2 rivers, the Great River and the Montego River.

It doesn’t end there. In addition to St. James, St. Ann was added to the list of places supplied by the Martha Brae, even though St. Ann has another Trelawny river on its border, the Rio Bueno River. St. Ann also has the White River.

Now, if that is not enough, Westmoreland is now being added, even though Westmoreland has a total of 3 rivers: Cabaritta River, Negril River and Dean’s River.  This is a release from the Office of the Prime Minister, four days ago:

We are investing One Point Six Billion Jamaican Dollars ($J1.6 Billion) to expand the Martha Brae Water Treatment Plant to increase water supply to the parishes of Trelawny, St. James and Westmoreland.

It would seem the Martha Brae can supply half of Jamaica with water!

Rafting on the Martha Brae

Martha Brae River Rafting

The Martha Brae is one of two rivers in Jamaica known for river rafting. The other is the Rio Grande in Portland. Rafting on the Martha Brae is a world famous attraction that earned Martha Brae 6th position on the list “Top Places to Visit in Jamaica That Are Safe and Beautiful.”

The attraction takes you on a peaceful ride down the 3 mile course. The ride lasts anywhere from an hour to 90 minutes. It ends near the town of Martha Brae, which bears the name of the river.

Several famous names have rafted on the Martha Brae. These include: Queen Elizabeth, Lennox Lewis, Dionne Warwick, Spike Lee, Patrick Ewing and Chuck Norris. Those are only a few.

River Tubing on Martha Brae River at Good Hope Estate, Jamaica

Inspired by Rafting on the Martha Brae, the folks at Chukka Tours have come up with several adventure tours. From their base in Good Hope Estates, one of them is River Tubing on the Martha Brae. Take a look at the video below:

 

First Piped Water System

martha brae water wheel

The Martha Brae Water Wheel that provided water for the first piped water system in the Western Hemisphere.

If you speak to any Falmouthian, they will tell you that we had piped water even before the city of New York. Where did the water come from? You guessed it; the great Martha Brae river supplied the town of Falmouth with Water. The Water Wheel channelled water into Water Square, Falmouth (about 2 miles away). From there, the water was piped throughout the town.

falmouth_water supply

Major Mode of Transportation During Plantation Era

During the plantation era the river was used as a vital artery, connecting the sugar estates in Trelawny to the port town of Falmouth. Bamboo rafts were used to float sugar and other crops to the harbour before being loaded on to ships bound for Europe. Then, sugar was king, and Trelawny produced more sugar and had more plantations than any other parish.

Town of Martha Brae Produced A Prime Minister

hugh-lawson-shearer

Hugh Lawson Shearer (former Prime Minister of Jamaica) was born in Martha Brae

Of course this is a bonus and really has nothing directly to do with the river, but this what Jamaicans call “brawta.” The town of Martha Brae produced one of Jamaica’s Prime Ministers in the person of Hugh Lawson Shearer. He was Prime Minister from 1967 to 1972.

Martha Brae River

The Martha Brae river is full of history and keeps being a reliable source of water and attraction for Jamaica’s tourist industry. There is none like it in the island. This is why we do not want miners to touch the Cockpit Country as they could disturb the Martha Brae River eco-system. We want our Martha Brae river to remain the greatest, most valuable river in Jamaica.

5 Comments

  1. debbie Jul 13, 2015
    • Brian Elliott Jul 13, 2015
  2. CJ Jul 14, 2015
  3. Warren Johnson Jul 14, 2015
  4. BestJamaica Nov 15, 2015

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