JIS News

Story Highlights

  • The system was commissioned into service on Thursday, November 28, by Minister, Hon. Robert Pickersgill.
  • The scope of works entailed the installation of two pumping stations, eight 2,750 gallon storage tanks, pipelines, and nine solar panels.
  • The system will be managed and operated by the National Water Commission (NWC).

More than 1,200 residents of several communities in St. Mary now have potable water flowing from taps in their homes, following the completion of the $60 million Mile Gully/Warwick Castle water supply system.

The system was commissioned into service on Thursday, November 28, by Water, Land, Environment, and Climate Change Minister, Hon. Robert Pickersgill.

Tumultuous applause erupted from residents, as water flowed from a pipe turned on by Mr. Pickersgill, following a ceremony held at the adjacent St. Mary’s Roman Catholic Church in Mile Gully.

The scope of works, spearheaded by the Rural Water Supply Limited, an agency of the Ministry, entailed the installation of two pumping stations, eight 2,750 gallon storage tanks, pipelines, and nine solar panels to power the operations. The system will be managed and operated by the National Water Commission (NWC).

A multi-stakeholder undertaking, which also involved members of the local Benevolent Group, the Mile Gully/Warwick Castle water system was carried out under the Government of Jamaica’s (GoJ) US$9.5 million Rural Water Programme, funded by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) under its Technical Cooperation Programme.

In his address, Mr. Pickersgill, acknowledged that the system, on which work started some 10 years ago, is “long overdue”, but welcomed its completion, contending that it is “better late, than never.”

The Minister also welcomed installation of the nine solar panels, which will reduce the cost of pumping water to NWC customers. He said it costs the NWC some $500 million per month to pump the commodity.

The Minister also urged the residents to play their part in maintaining the service in their community by, among other things, paying their bills and protecting the facilities.

Meanwhile, Vice President of the Mile Gully/Warwick Castle Benevolent Group, Joslyn Matterson, said the residents welcome the completion of the project. They previously relied on a spring for water. “We put in our labour to pay our cost to develop the system. Everyone has waited (and) today, we are very, very proud; we are glad for what has transpired.”

Alvarene Tracey, a basic school teacher of Warwick Castle, told JIS News that she is “feeling proud”.

“It was very hard for people to take water from the spring to their homes. (But now that we) have the water in the home, (we) don’t have to go through the stress of going to the springs to get water (anymore),” she stated.

Franklyn Dingwall of Mile Gully said he is happy that the community is set to further improve through the provision of water.

An overjoyed Mickey Anderson, also of Mile Gully, declared that she no longer has to get up as early as 5:00 a.m. to fetch water for domestic purposes.

The Rural Water Programme forms part of the administration’s efforts to provide adequate water and sanitary provisions and conveniences in rural communities not having these.

The Mile Gully/Warwick Castle system is one of five developed under an initial pilot phase since the programme commenced in 2003. Similar developments have been undertaken at: Cotterwood, St. Elizabeth; White Horses/Botany Bay, St. Thomas; Gravel Hill, Clarendon; and Giblatore, St. Catherine.

These developments are consistent with the administration’s strategic job creation and economic growth priority, focusing rural development.