Advertisement
Feature
The Government is upgrading a water supply system in Font Hill, St. Thomas, to commemorate World Water Day (March 22, 2019).
Photo: Contributed

Story Highlights

  • Internationally, March 22 is celebrated as ‘World Water Day’, and this year the Government will begin to upgrade a water supply system in Font Hill, St. Thomas, to commemorate the day.
  • The theme for World Water Day 2019 is ‘Leaving No One Behind’, and the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, through the National Water Commission (NWC) and the Rural Water Supply Limited (RWSL), will improve that system to benefit the Font Hill Primary School and residents of the community.
  • “We will be having an opening ceremony at the Font Hill Primary School to officially launch phase one of the project, along with exhibitions from NWC and RWSL between the hours of 10:00 a.m.

Internationally, March 22 is celebrated as ‘World Water Day’, and this year the Government will begin to upgrade a water supply system in Font Hill, St. Thomas, to commemorate the day.

The theme for World Water Day 2019 is ‘Leaving No One Behind’, and the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, through the National Water Commission (NWC) and the Rural Water Supply Limited (RWSL), will improve that system to benefit the Font Hill Primary School and residents of the community.

“We will be having an opening ceremony at the Font Hill Primary School to officially launch phase one of the project, along with exhibitions from NWC and RWSL between the hours of 10:00 a.m.

and 3:00 p.m. on March 22,” Director, Water Policy and Monitoring Branch in the Ministry, Talia Gibson, tells JIS News.

Mrs. Gibson says the water supply improvement project is ongoing and will be carried out in three phases, with the first phase costing approximately $19 million.

“The day promises to be full of activities, including displays, presentations and entertainment,” she adds.

Mrs. Gibson says the Government is committed to Sustainable Development Goal Six of Vision 2030, which stipulates accessible water for all Jamaicans by 2030.

Meanwhile, Senior Corporate Public Relations Manager at the NWC, Charles Buchanan, says the NWC, as the major provider of potable water, sees the objective of universal water coverage as an important target, “to which we are fully committed and working towards achieving every single day”.

“However, it needs to be understood that universal coverage is not the same, as every single household in Jamaica, regardless of where it is in relation to a water supply system, will be provided with piped water from a municipal water supply service provider like the NWC,” he adds.

Mr. Buchanan explains that the Water Sector Policy recognises that about 15 per cent of Jamaica’s population, which resides in very remote, hilly or water-scarce areas, cannot have in-home piped water service, because it is not technologically feasible to channel piped water directly to these homes.

“Other modalities such as water at standpipes, community water tanks, rainwater-harvesting, private water supply from rivers, springs and property wells, would be used to serve this 15 per cent of the population,” he points out.

Mr. Buchanan says to commemorate World Water Day, the NWC, in addition to offering assistance with the Font Hill water system improvement project, will be offering tours to its various facilities.

“We will be doing public education tours at a number of our critical facilities with schools and other groups. This is to generate discussions and public appreciation of the values, preciousness and fragility of water supplies,” he adds.

For his part, Managing Director of the RWSL, Audley Thompson, tells JIS News that he, too, is excited about the partnership with the Ministry to commemorate World Water Day, adding that the theme is in keeping with the mandate of the RWSL.

“Our mandate is to ensure that all the rural areas are adequately supplied with potable water. Under the new Water Policy being drafted by the Ministry, each person should have access to at least 50 litres of water daily within 300 to 500 metres,” Mr. Thompson notes.

“We have been assisting the Ministry with the World Water Day project in Font Hill, Western St. Thomas. We have been out there for the past four to five weeks laying pipes,” he adds.

Font Hill is a small rural agricultural community in north western St. Thomas, with approximately150 homes and an estimated population of 555 persons (Development Commission Household Survey 2012).