Minister of Water, Land, Environment and Climate Change, Hon. Robert Pickersgill on Thursday March 8, officially broke ground for the rehabilitation of the Mona and Hope Treatment Plants.
The works, estimated to cost some $1.5 billion, will be undertaken by VINCI Construction Grand Projects and will see the complete rehabilitation of the two major facilities.
The project is expected to last for 18 months and is being implemented by the National Water Commission (NWC) with financial assistance from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).
Speaking at the ground breaking ceremony at the Mona Reservoir Complex in
St. Andrew, Minister Pickersgill said major activities has already commenced under the project, pointing to rehabilitation works underway along Hope River, as well as on-site construction.
“Preparatory and initial rehabilitation construction work on the project has already begun. The project office has already been constructed, equipped and is now in use. The workshop and project storage areas are now being prepared, and various procurement orders are already being processed,” he informed.
Additionally, work is underway on the intake structures as well as the gravel and silt traps, and other sections of the aqueduct that transport the water from the Hope River to the Mona Reservoir and the Hope Treatment Plant.
Mr. Pickersgill noted that the repair of the two facilities is very critical, as combined; they represent nearly 50 per cent of the NWC’s water production capacity in all of Kingston and St. Andrew, making them the second and third largest systems in the area.
“They also serve some of the country’s most critical institutions, the business districts and other leading sectors of the country,” he noted.
Minister Pickersgill noted that the project shows the importance that the NWC places on building a “maintenance culture” that will guarantee that the existing infrastructure will serve citizens more efficiently and for a long period, savings costs and ensuring quality and reliability.
Country Representative, IDB, Ancile Brewster, said that “with this important collaboration, Jamaica can now boast that almost 73 per cent of Jamaicans are connected to the water distribution system.”
He noted, however, that more needs to be done to improve access in rural areas, where only 45 per cent of persons are connected.
As such, he said, the IDB will be working closely with the NWC to rehabilitate supply systems in several rural areas, namely May Pen in Clarendon, Old Harbour in St. Catherine and Mandeville in Manchester.
In the meantime, Chairman of the Board of Commissioners, NWC, Dr. Leary Myers challenged the contractors and workers on the project to do all they can to ensure its timely, efficient and successful completion.
“We, at the NWC, intend to do all we can to ensure that the water services in this section of the Corporate Area, and indeed, all of Jamaica, continues to flow to support the life, health and development of our country,” he stated.
Member of Parliament for Eastern St. Andrew, Andre Hylton said he was delighted to see that such an important project has commenced in the community, which will result in the improvement of water supply for citizens.
“I am sure that on the completion of this project the residents of August Town, Hope Pastures and Mona will be even more delighted when they know that there is going to be an increase in the water supply,” he remarked.
The Mona Water Treatment Plant is connected to the country’s largest raw water storage reservoir. Its rehabilitation will include, increasing the daily production of water from 13.5 million gallons per day to 16 million gallons per day.
Works will also involve repairing gravity filters, and the replacement of filter media; installation of automation and regulation controls and equipment, meters and valves; rehabilitation of chemical dosing equipment, including new chlorination facilities; repair to existing building, walkways and miscellaneous structures, and the replacement of backwash pumps.
The existing storm water drainage system protecting the Mona Water treatment plant will also be upgraded under this project.
In regards to the Hope Water Treatment Plant, which is one of the oldest plants in Jamaica and the region, Minister Pickersgill informed that rehabilitation work will seek to improve water quality and reliability. Sections of the aqueduct and the Hope River will also be upgraded.
On completion, the Hope Water Treatment Plant is expected to be restored to its original design capacity of 6.5 million gallons per day.
The works will include, rehabilitation of intake structure on the Hope River; rehabilitation of raw water channel, aqueduct, gravel and silt traps; improvements to chemical dosing equipment; repairs and modifications to the settlement tank; repairs and improvements to slow sand filters including re-sanding; building rehabilitations and the repair of a raw water transfer pumping station located at Mona.
By Athaliah Reynolds-Baker, JIS Reporter