- NWC K-Factor Unit is slated to spend just over $4 billion out of a $10 billion capital expenditure budget
- Minister Pickersgill said implementation of the projects is dependent on “various factors"
- The Minister said the Government is “painfully aware” of residents’ need for water
The National Water Commission’s (NWC) K-Factor Unit is slated to spend just over $4 billion out of a $10 billion capital expenditure budget, on water projects islandwide, during the current fiscal year.
The scheduled expenditure forms part of some $28.7 billion worth of projects which Water, Land, Environment and Climate Change Minister, Hon. Robert Pickersgill, says the Office of Utilities Regulation (OUR) has, to date, approved for the Unit’s implementation, to reduce the NWC’s “staggering” 70 per cent non-revenue water losses.
Speaking at a recent groundbreaking ceremony for phase one of the $21 Mason River water upgrading project in Clarendon, Mr. Pickersgill said implementation of the projects is dependent on “various factors, including the available fiscal space.”
“This means that each project to be undertaken must be viewed within the context of the impact it will have on people’s lives and also the NWC’s revenues,” he explained.
The Minister said the Government is “painfully aware” of residents’ need for water where none exist, and for more adequate provisions where it is not deemed sufficient.
He said with this in mind, the NWC’s Board members, led by Chairman, Dr. Leary Myers, have established a Projects Committee to “efficiently drive the implementation of projects.”
Mr. Pickersgill said State Minister, Hon. Ian Hayles, has been “mandated” to liaise with Members of Parliament and Councillors islandwide to identify the “most critical” areas which need water, and work with the K-Factor Unit “to see how best we can serve the people of Jamaica.”
“We are ensuring that that we tap into both streams of interest, and through diligent cost benefit analyses and detailed preparation of project profiles, that we develop a cadre of projects that will redound to the benefit of the National Water Commission and Jamaica,” the Minister added.
Some 3,000 residents of Mason River, Kellits, Sandy River and their environs in north Clarendon are slated to benefit under phase one of the Mason River water upgrading project, scheduled for implementation within four months.
Work on the initial phase is being carried out by engineering firm, Alcar Construction and Haulage Company Limited, and forms part of an overall $200 million development slated to be undertaken over the next 24 months in the area. The development is being funded by the NWC, through the K-Factor programme.
The project will entail replacement of existing aging iron and asbestos pipelines, and installation and rehabilitation of pumps, reservoirs and tanks, to enable the storage and distribution of water to householders. On completion, upwards of 7,000 residents will benefit from the newly upgraded system.
The project, being undertaken in partnership with Rural Water Supply Limited (RWSL), is one of 26 which that entity and the NWC have been mandated by the Ministry of Water, Land, Environment, and Climate Change to implement by 2015. This will improve the supply of water to approximately 250,000 residents islandwide. It is also the tenth such project undertaken by both entities in Clarendon in recent years.
The K-Factor allows the NWC to use a pre-determined percentage on customers’ bills to implement non-revenue water reduction, sewerage, and other specifically approved operational efficiency projects. The K-Factor funds are later repaid to customers as an X-Factor on their bills.