Water and Housing Ministry gets $100 Million Boost from Red Stripe and Diageo Foundation


Minister of Water and Housing, Donald Buchanan, has received a cheque valued at $100 million from Red Stripe and the Diageo Foundation, for the restoration and improvement of potable water supplies to communities most severely affected by Hurricane Ivan.
“We will be using these funds particularly in the hurricane-ravaged parishes of Clarendon, St. Elizabeth and Westmoreland,” the Minister told JIS News following the handing over ceremony, which was held at the General Aviation Centre of the Norman Manley International Airport on Thursday (Sept. 23).
Mr. Buchanan, who accepted the cheque on behalf of the government and the National Water Commission (NWC), acknowledged the challenges faced by the Commission in restoring piped water supply to all communities islandwide, and assured that the donation would be “well spent and well accounted for.”
According to the Minister, the NWC will ensure the completion and sustainability of all projects initiated with the funds received.
Outlining some of the projects that would benefit from the contribution, Mr. Buchanan said these would include the reconstruction of raw water intake areas and conveyance systems, desilting and cleaning of intake areas, and drilling and equipping of replacement wells.
The money will also go towards the repair and installation of water treatment and purification systems, repairs/rehabilitation of civil infrastructure at plants, reconstruction of broken and dislocated pumping and distribution pipelines, and repairs to reservoir and tanks.
The reinforcement of pipe supports and thrust blocks, including earthworks where necessary, and rehabilitation or replacement of electro-mechanical equipment at treatment and distribution facilities, including pumps, motors and switchgears will also be funded, Minister Buchanan disclosed.
Important too, will be the installation of stand-by generators at facilities for which normal power supply may not be restored soon, or to avert the negative health impacts resulting from lack of community water supply.
“I am pleased to indicate that already, we have bought a generator for $4 million and installed it at the Kemps Hill pumping station on the Clarendon plain, so as to facilitate water to the devastated Portland Cottage community, as well as other sections of southern Clarendon, and water is now restored to that area,” Minister Buchanan informed JIS News.
Notwithstanding the significant achievements of the NWC in reinstating over 200 of the island’s 400 water supply systems, the Minister noted that the situation in Mandeville was still troubling, but stressed the Ministry’s commitment to a quick resolution to the problem.
“We are still not able to pump from the Pepper Well because despite the restoration of power there, we need 440 volts in order to put our plants into operation and we are not, at this moment, receiving that level of voltage in the Pepper area, therefore we cannot put the plants at risk, but, we are endeavouring and working with JPSCo to ensure that the town is also restored as soon as possible,” the Minister assured.

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