Some 26 water projects are slated for implementation by Rural Water Supply Limited (RWSL) over the next three years, at a cost of approximately $4 billion.
The works will be carried out in rural communities across the island under the Major Rural Water Supply Upgrading Programme.
Water, Land, Environment, and Climate Change Minister, Hon. Robert Pickersgill, who made the announcement on Friday (June 21), said an additional 250,000 residents will benefit from the developments, which will increase access to potable water to rural residents by approximately 21 per cent.
The Minister, who was speaking at the commissioning of phase two of the John Groyne water system at York Street in Treadways, St. Catherine, informed that work has begun on four of the developments, which will serve the communities of Cascade, Claremont, and Jericho in Hanover; and Nonpariel and Orange Hill, Westmoreland.
He said that work is set to commence soon on the Mason River water supply system in Clarendon, and the Burnt Savannah/Knoxwood system in St. Elizabeth.
Meanwhile, the Minister disclosed that RWSL is set to undertake upgrading and remedial works on several other systems, which will serve some 26,000 residents, at a cost of just over $60 million, during the 2013/14 fiscal year.
These, Mr. Pickersgill informed, include facilities serving the communities of Top Leinster/Devon Pen, and Seaton in St. Mary; Top Hill, Windsor Heights, and Troja/Lassie Spring, St. Catherine; Grant Hill and Kelly Spring, St. Andrew; and Smithville and Union, Clarendon.
Additionally, he said, minor water supply systems serving several communities in Hanover and St. Thomas are slated for upgrading and remedial works.
He further advised that designs for other projects are currently being developed, with funding to be provided under the National Water Commission’s (NWC) K-Factor Project, “for early implementation.”
RWSL Board Director, Bishop Omar Oliphant, pointed out that some $75 million was spent during the 2012/13 fiscal year to rehabilitate minor water systems in rural communities, resulting in improved water supplies for over 28,000 residents in St. Ann, St. James, Clarendon, Westmoreland, St. Mary, and St. Catherine.
NWC President, Albert Gordon, who also spoke at the commissioning ceremony, pointed out that the agency has partnered with RWSL to undertake a range of projects. He said based on plans developed by the Ministry, “we intend for all Jamaicans to have access to safe drinking water.”
Some 3,500 residents of the community of York Street and adjoining areas, now have access to potable water following the completion of phase two of the John Groyne system at a cost of $13 million.
The project, undertaken by RWSL, an agency of the Ministry, entailed the installation of pipelines to channel water to York Street, Palms Crossing, Bermaddy, Palms, Mingle Lane, Farm Yard, and Red Pond Lane. It also saw the installation of two chlorination facilities at Dawkins Bush.
Completion of the second phase comes two years after the first segment was concluded at a cost of $9.6 million.
By Douglas Mcintosh, JIS Reporter