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Story Highlights

  • The National Water Commission (NWC) says the broken 18-inch pipeline along Mandela Highway, is expected to be replaced by March.
  • “Work has started. Pipe laying [will] commence in another week or two,” NWC President, Mark Barnett, said during a press conference at the utility company’s corporate office in New Kingston on Friday (Jan. 11).
  • The transmission main, which is part of the Ferry supply pipeline, has to be replaced due to unrepairable breaks which have disrupted water supplied to sections of the Corporate Area, since last December.

The National Water Commission (NWC) says the broken 18-inch pipeline along Mandela Highway, is expected to be replaced by March.

“Work has started. Pipe laying [will] commence in another week or two,” NWC President, Mark Barnett, said during a press conference at the utility company’s corporate office in New Kingston on Friday (Jan. 11).

The transmission main, which is part of the Ferry supply pipeline, has to be replaced due to unrepairable breaks which have disrupted water supplied to sections of the Corporate Area, since last December.

Mr. Barnett said it was decided not to repair the 35-feet deep pipeline, which is over 50 years old and was already identified for replacement.

“Under the Major Infrastructure Development Programme (MIDP), it was always envisioned to replace that main which was broken along with another major transmission main,” he said.

Mr. Barnett noted that the NWC has been working to alleviate the water disruptions being experienced by some communities through scheduled distribution, which was implemented in December.

“There are some customers that we know would’ve been out of water for a day and a half… two days… some places, up to four days. We recognize those situations and empathize and apologize for those,” he further stated.

Mr. Barnett said the NWC is working to ensure that it serves as many customers as possible through the scheduling system, adding that where this is not possible, water will be trucked to the affected areas.

“We have done that [trucked water] in a number of cases prior to [and following] schools re-opening. We will definitely be prioritizing schools and public health institutions… for trucking activity where water would not have been sufficient through the mains,” he said.

Mr. Barnett said the NWC is aware that some communities, such as those along Molynes Road and Bay Farm Road, have not been getting water when scheduled, which he attributed to several factors.

These, he indicated, include four major breaks on the Constant Spring 21-inch transmission main in the last week, resulting in the plant being shut down on each occasion to preserve water while effecting repairs.

The NWC President advised that consequent on the extent of the roadworks and their complex nature, disruptions in the water supply are inevitable.

He cited, as an example, the Constant Spring Road/Hagley Park Road corridor where drains are being put in, as well as a sewer pipe and water pipe. This is in addition to four existing transmission mains under Constant Spring Road.

“[Additionally), we have to contend with telecommunications systems… so it is a very cumbersome activity. In our best effort, we try to maintain those existing mains in service so as to reduce any disruption. But [even with] the best effort, we are going to have disruptions, considering the crowded nature of the corridor,” he said.

Mr. Barnett advised that the NWC is collaborating with the National Works Agency to carrying out major works, noting that in most cases, the NWC’s role is to replace or install new pipelines.

He pointed out that Constant Spring Road, Mandela Highway, Hagley Park Road, and the Barbican Road project, completed some time ago, benefited from that level of collaboration.

“We are not, as an enterprise, happy that in our collaboration, the disruption creates discomfort for residents in the communities. However, we want to assure that these disruptions are not lasting… they should be short. So we crave your indulgence and a little more patience,” Mr. Barnett said.