The Government has committed billions of dollars to the water sector as it looks to develop the island’s water resources and improve on existing infrastructure.
Minister of Water and Housing, Dr. Horace Chang, said that Jamaica has sufficient water to serve the population but needs investment to develop the water resources for distribution.
He said that there is enough water on the north coast to supply the rest of the country, while on the south coast, “the water there could supply all of St. Elizabeth and Manchester and much more of Jamaica. What we have to do over the next few years is to put in the funding that is required to develop the water resources.”
Dr. Chang, who was speaking at Hood-Daniel Well Company Limited’s 50th anniversary awards ceremony on April 12 at the Golf View Hotel in Mandeville, informed that an investment framework has been put in place to ensure that the country “does not go back to a situation where the water infrastructure is underdeveloped and deteriorated.”
Minister of Water and Housing, Hon. Dr. Horace Chang (left), presents a plaque to 42-year employee of Hood-Daniel Well Company Limited in Manchester, Clarence Morgan, for long and faithful service. Occasion was the company’s 50th anniversary awards ceremony held on April 12 at the Golf View Hotel in Mandeville.
“We have committed nearly $30 billion to be invested in water, which is a major chunk of money. We intend to restore the urban areas, which include Mandeville, with adequate supply of water, and to increase access to rural Jamaica from under 50 per cent to about 65 per cent in a 36-month period,” he said.
He further informed that plans are underway to increase the number of wells in sections of the island. “We have focused on wells because there has been no sign of any fall in the aquifers as far as water is concerned,” he stated. An Aquifer is an underground bed or layer of permeable rock, sediment, or soil that yields water for wells and springs.
In the meantime, the Minister noted the importance of access to potable water for the development of communities. “Access to potable water is a good indicator of the quality of life in a country, and maybe the most essential element in the development process,” he stated.
“If you put water in a rural district, you will find that returned residents will go back there to build their homes and what they bring with them lifts the quality of life in a community,” he noted further.
The Water Minister commended Hood-Daniel Well Company for 50 years in the well-drilling business, and supplying tractors and water-related accessories.
“The well drillers play a critical role,” Dr. Chang said. “They are highly skilled individuals and they should have our respect. The company has provided a critical service, one that we need more of. It is good to see how you have stuck together, and have developed your skills,” he added.