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Plans are currently underway to improve the efficiency of the water supply system in the parish of Clarendon.
According to Mayor of May Pen, Milton Brown, while the parish is rapidly developing, this development is accompanied by an inadequate water supply system, which, at best, cannot sustain the level of commercial and residential development, presently taking place.
“One of the problems we have is that we have committed more water than we have, and we are yet to have significant expansion in the parish, both from a residential point of view, and a commercial point of view – and we need to supply water in order to sustain development,” he informed.
The Mayor was speaking yesterday, October 22, at a meeting held at the Halse Hall Great House in Clarendon, to discuss ways of improving the water supply to residents of the parish. He further noted that the rate of contamination of the water supply, which results from over-pumping of the water, or attempting to use more water than the system can sustain, would have to be significantly reduced.
Managing Director of the Water Resources Authority, Basil Fernandez, disclosed that several measures would have to be taken to increase the capacity of the relevant agencies, to provide water in a more efficient manner.
Chief among these, he stated, would be the need for proper planning and zoning of these developments, to ensure that the system is able to stand up to the demand that is being made. There would also be a need to re-evaluate the water, which has already been committed, and re-allocate this, for more even distribution of the commodity, he said.
Improved efficiency in irrigation, would serve in part to address the problem as only 20 per cent of water consumed in Clarendon is used efficiently, particularly as it relates to that which is used for irrigation purposes, Mr. Fernandez said.
He said it was highly critical, also, to thoroughly examine the infrastructure of the providing agency, which in most instances is the National water Commission (NWC), to determine if it has the capacity to move specific volumes of water to the required areas. Additionally, he says, serious consideration also has to be given to how the systems, which are put in place such as the sewage system, will affect the quality of water, available to the consumer.
Meanwhile, President of the NWC, E.G.Hunter, informed the audience that Clarendon has a poor record as far as payment for the provision of water is concerned, and an improvement in this regard, would better enable the utility provider to serve its customers efficiently.
The National Water Commission is the chief supplier of potable water, servicing some 70 per cent of the Jamaican population. It operates 460 water supply facilities across the island, along with some 68 water treatment plants.