Prime Minister the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, on Saturday (August 8) officially commissioned into service the $400 million Claremont to Jericho Water Supply System in Hanover, ending 48 years of water scarcity in the area.
Approximately 8000 persons will now benefit from the potable piped water being supplied by the National Water Commission (NWC).
The water supply system includes a relift station from which water is pumped into a 100,000-gallon bolted steel tank and is gravity fed to the areas spanning the communities of Claremont and Jericho.
In his address, Prime Minister Holness stated that water is the right of every Jamaican and the Government is making major strategic investments in bringing the precious commodity to every household.
“Yes, we (the Government) want to know where we are going to get the greatest economic return. We are going to want to look at where we make the investment and can get the repayment, but we also have a duty to make the investment where people have been without water for many years,” Mr. Holness said.
“This particular community has been without water for 48 years [and] the Government of Jamaica has therefore invested $400 million to bring water to your community,” he added.
The Prime Minister said residents should now be responsible with their use of the water and pay their bills. He noted that this will ensure that the money invested is recuperated and is later reinvested into other areas that are currently in need of water supply.
“So, if you don’t pay, then NWC can’t pay and if NWC can’t pay then they have debt and it becomes the Government’s debt. So, it is better that you pay the rates that are set reasonably, and you manage your consumption of the water,” the Mr. Holness said.
For his part, President of the National Water Commission, Mark Barnett, also encouraged the residents to pay their monthly water bill. He said this is significantly less than the current cost to truck water to the communities.
“I heard a resident say that they have to pay upwards of $4000 for water. NWC will only be charging you approximately $2500 a month for that water and now [you] can immediately see the gains from truck water versus piped water,” Mr. Barrett explained.
Meanwhile, Claremont resident, Miriam Gordon-Stephenson, told JIS News that she was proud that piped water had finally reached her community. She expressed thanks to everyone involved in making the community’s long-held dream a reality.