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Work on the $1.83 billion Port Antonio Water Supply, Sewerage and Drainage Project, is slated to get underway in July.

Water, Land, Environment and Climate Change Minister, Hon. Robert Pickersgill, yesterday (May 2) broke ground for the development, which will involve major rehabilitation and construction of water distribution, sewerage, and drainage systems serving the Portland capital and its environs.

The project is being undertaken over 18 months through joint funding from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and the National Water Commission (NWC), under its K-Factor Programme, and is expected to generate upwards of 250 jobs.

Minister Pickersgill, in his address at the ceremony held at Bryan's Bay, assured that the project will address water supply deficiencies in Port Antonio and adjoining communities, while providing supporting wastewater and drainage systems and services.

He noted that the successful implementation of the project "requires all hands on deck".

"Let us resolve to work together to ensure better living standards for (all) the communities served by this system. With the current administration's plan to replicate efforts like these across Jamaica, I have no doubt that we will steadily advance towards achieving our Vision 2030 goal of making Jamaica ‘the place of choice to live, work, raise families and do business," Mr. Pickersgill said.

NWC Chairman, Dr. Leary Myers, who also participated in the ground breaking, said the project represents a "milestone" in the Commission's increasing efforts to rehabilitate its infrastructure to deliver potable water and wastewater management services to its clients.

"On completion of (this) water supply, sewerage and drainage project, Port Antonio and adjoining areas will, at the same time, reap the benefits of a full loop effort to improve water supply while managing the impact that waste generated by human activity and poorly channeled storm flows can have on the vulnerable…environment," he stated.

Dr. Myers said the NWC's K-Factor Programme has enabled the agency to "slowly but steadily" transform its infrastructure, to enhance service delivery to clients.

The programme provides for the sustainable regeneration, rehabilitation and improvement of the water and waste water systems, which are critical to the health, sanitation and well-being of Jamaicans, as well as to the development of the country.

The NWC Chairman informed that the K-Factor Unit, which has been appointed to oversee the implementation of K-Factor projects, has, as its strategic focus, a mandate to guide the identification, scoping, and implementation of projects, which reduce non-revenue water, rehabilitate underperforming systems, and increase energy efficiencies while improving service to customers.

The Port Antonio Water Supply, Sewerage and Drainage Project, which will be executed by French engineering firm, Vinci Construction Grands Projects, will see the major installation, construction, and repair works being executed under its three components – water, sewerage, and drainage.

These will incorporate the laying of 10 kilometres of pipelines and the replacement and upgrading 1,000 service connections under the water aspect; installation of six kilometres of pipelines, 500 connections, and manholes under the sewerage segment; and placement of two kilometers of box and concrete pipe culverts, construction of a retaining wall, as well as drainage channel de-silting, and dredging works, under the drainage component. Vinci will undertake preliminary works in June, prior to the commencement of these activities.

Vinci Constructions Country Manager for Jamaica, Etienne Andre, said efforts will be made to ensure that the project's workforce comprises mainly locals, while giving the firm's undertaking to minimize, as best as possible, anticipated inconveniences to vehicular and pedestrian movement.  

Contact: Douglas McIntosh