Seventy-Six Per Cent of Jamaican Households Have Piped Water


More households have access to public pipe-borne water than ever before, with that number increasing by 117,910 over the last decade, to 575,494, which represents 76 per cent of the 748,392 households across the island.
These comparative figures are contained in the 1991 and 2001 Population Censuses, which provide the greatest avenue for gathering the most comprehensive set of information on the peoples of any nation, and in recent years, there has been increased recognition by governments and policy makers of the interrelationship between population and development. Access to pipe-borne water is considered a key reflection of the standard of living and well being of a population, with serious implication for the health and productivity of workers. The increase in the number of households with pipe-borne water over the past 10 years was approximately in line with the 27 per cent increase in the total number of households during the review period.
Corporate Public Relations Manager at the National Water Commission (NWC), Charles Buchanan said that the Commission had maintained a very good rate of service across the island, despite the challenges to profitability, pointing out that an 18-month restructuring and modernisation programme was on the way to improving the NWC’s efficiency, and to ensure that it was in a financially sustainable position to continue providing service to all customers.
In his latest report last month, the statistics showed that 84 per cent of households across the island, including deep rural areas, are supplied by piped service, which he said, was an enviable position, which compared favourably with other Caribbean and developed countries, adding that the Commission was committed to universal service and access to water supply across the island, but needed the financial base to do so.
Speaking at a recent JIS Think Tank session, Mr. Buchanan informed that the reorganisation exercise, which began on August 29, would involve restructuring of the organisation; the introduction of cost containment measures; and review of tariff rates and improvements to systems and facilities. Based on the 2001 Census figures, of the 575,494 households in the country with access to pipe-borne water, 328,064 have it in their house; 122,133 have in the yard; while 78,467 households depend on standpipes. When compared with the 1991 census, 29,279 fewer households in 2001 relied on standpipes for water. Coming from 107,746 households, which used standpipes in 1991, the number was reduced to 78,467 in 2001, a 27 per cent reduction. Similarly, in 2001, 4,063 fewer households relied on springs or rivers for domestic water, with that figure reducing from 38,605 in 1991 to 34,245 in 2001.
The parishes of St. Andrew and St. Catherine top the charts with the most households with access to pipe-borne water. Of the 131,347 households in St. Andrew in 1991, 115,725 households had access to pipe-borne water. A decade later, the figure had increased to 146,615 out of 164,513 households with pipe-borne water.
The figures also showed that only 6,326 households relied on standpipes for domestic water, while 1,714 relied on springs and rivers. The population of St. Andrew grew at a rate of 0.3 per cent a year over the 10-year period.
St. Catherine, which had 89,534 households in 1991, of which 69,480 had access to pipe-borne water, has seen the number of households increase to 134,378 in 2001, of which 97,302 had access to pipe-borne water. Only 3,657 households relied on standpipes for domestic water, while 6,550 relied on springs or rivers. The population of St. Catherine grew at an annual rate of 2.3 per cent, nearly three times the national average.

JIS Social