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Thousands of Jamaicans across the island are set to see improvement in the reliability and distribution of their water supplies, following the completion of several projects by the National Water Commission (NWC). 

Minister of Water, Land, Environment and Climate Change, Hon. Robert Pickersgill, gave details of the projects that have been completed, and plans to undertake others, during his contribution to the Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives, on July 24, under the theme: ‘Partnering For Sustainable Development’.

"We have heard the call for water all across Jamaica, and our agencies responsible for water are responding to that call by undertaking research, implementing projects and adopting strategies to maximise the volume of water available to our citizens, and improve its quality," Mr. Pickersgill said.

The Minister noted that although there are challenges in the water and wastewater sectors, the Government continues to work assiduously to overcome them.

He announced that the NWC has completed the Constant Spring Treatment Plant at a cost of $704 million. The Minister also told the House that new and more efficient meters which will yield more accurate readings have been installed, facilitating connections to almost 50,000 households in the Corporate Area and 20,000 in Ocho Rios, St. Mary, St. Catherine and May Pen.

Other completed NWC projects, outlined by the Minister, include the rehabilitation of two treatment plants at Seaview in Stony Hill, which has improved the reliability of service to approximately 20,000 persons; and the integration of a new supply system into the network at Kitson Town, St. Catherine.

Under the Kitson Town project, hundreds of new customers will come on stream. Mr. Pickersgill explained that “service was extended to new areas, removing the dependence of householders on high priced trucked water."

He also informed that the NWC spent just over $700 million in the Rio Cobre Gorge laying approximately six kilometres of new iron pipes, to replace the ones that were about 50 years old. 

The Minister noted that about 10,000 persons in the Stony Hill Area will benefit from improvement in their distribution network, following the completion of works costing some $382.7 million.

"The works included replacement of leaking pipes and the upgrade of the pipe diameter in certain areas as well as the installation of pressure reducing valves, resulting in a number of areas previously on water scheduling, now enjoying 24-hour supply," he said.

Mr. Pickersgill credited the former Water and Housing Minister, Dr. Horace Chang, for his role in pushing ahead with the various projects.