MANDEVILLE — Minister of Housing, Environment and Water, Hon. Dr. Horace Chang, on June 30 commissioned into service the upgraded James Hill Water Supply Scheme in Clarendon, which will serve some 5,000 residents in seven communities.
The project, undertaken by the Rural Water Supply Limited at a cost of $30 million, included the laying of some four kilometers of pipelines to collect water from a spring in Fairburn via a diesel-operated pump; rehabilitation of the existing Fairburn reservoir and pumping station; and replacing the non-functioning diesel pump.
Dr. Chang, speaking at the commissioning ceremony held on the grounds of the Claude McKay High School in the parish, said that the upgraded system will ensure a regular supply of potable water to the communities of James Hill, Corner Shop, Salem, Bog Hole, Fairburn, Carty Hill and Dawkins.
“Reliable water supply is critical to the quality of life of the entire economy of the communities. When, at a primary school, there is running water, teachers can focus on their work, parents in the community can send their children to that school, and it gives an opportunity to build the character of that school,” he stated.
The Minister told his audience that despite the “huge cost” of putting water infrastructure in communities, the Government is committed to improving rural water supply from less than 50 per cent to over 65 per cent.
He said that the Government of Jamaica regards potable water as a priority, and has dedicated significant funding for projects across the island. “We are looking at a
US$1.2 billion over a 10-year period, and we have already completed a significant amount of that,” he informed.
Among them is the US$83 million Kingston Metropolitan Area (KMA) Water Supply Project, which Dr. Chang said, “is pretty much completed”.
“It is an extensive programme…rebuilding the entire treatment plant of Spanish Town, rehabilitation of some 19 wells and putting in an additional five million gallons in that zone,” he informed.
He noted that the US$215 million Jamaica Water Improvement Programme (JWIP), which is underway, will complement the KMA project.
“It (JWIP) satisfies the water needs for the corporate area, which has had serious problems for the last two decades, and gives us water supply for the next two to three decades. We are putting in the kind of investment that is expected to provide the Jamaican society with reliable quality water supply,” Minister Chang told the gathering.
Over the past three years, the Rural Water Supply Limited has developed over seven water schemes across the island at a cost of more than $190 million, providing some 18,000 residents with access to reliable water supply.
By GARFIELD L. ANGUS, JIS Reporter