JIS News

Water and Housing Minister, Hon. Dr. Horace Chang, has given the assurance of an increase in the supply of water to communities in the Kingston Metropolitan Area (KMA), currently experiencing restrictions caused by the prevailing drought, within four weeks.
The KMA encompasses Kingston and St. Andrew and central and southern St. Catherine, inclusive of Spanish Town, Central Village and Portmore.
Speaking during a tour of the Hermitage Dam, in St. Andrew, on April 7, Dr. Chang informed that work is being done on several wells in the Corporate Area that were inactive, as well as St. Catherine, to enable them to channel additional water to affected communities.
He pointed out that there are three wells in the Corporate Area, one at Hampstead Park, which should be in operation within 10 days; a bigger well at Rennock Lodge, and another at Camp. “Between those three, we will get up to three million gallons per day,” the Minister disclosed.
Dr. Chang informed that work on a number of wells in St. Catherine, being upgraded under the KMA Water Improvement Project, is being “fast tracked” to have them ready by the end of the month, instead of the original September completion timeline.
“Together they will bring us nearly four million gallons per day. Once we get these in place, we will be able to stabilise the supply for the entire Corporate Area,” he outlined, while pointing out that the trucking of water to affected communities continues. Work on each well is expected to cost between $10 million and $15 million.
The imposition of water restrictions in the Corporate Area by the National Water Commission (NWC) became necessary in light of the significant fall in the storage levels in the Hermitage Dam and Mona Reservoir, two main facilities serving a significant section of the capital, due to the severe drought which has reduced inflows. Dr. Chang has assured that householders should see improvements on what currently obtains.
“By the end of the month, we are looking at almost 10 million gallons in new supply, and that will stabilise the supply in the Corporate Area until the rains come,” the Minister said.
Dr. Chang advised of other wells in St. Catherine being upgraded under the KMA project, such as the facility at Angels which, he pointed out, will not come on stream until September, due to issues relating to connections relative to well locations, which have to be addressed.
The Minister explained that once major upgrading of the Stony Hill/Seaview/Constant Spring treatment facility (in the Corporate Area) in completed, and the additional supplies in St. Catherine come on stream, “we will be able to give you regular supply, but that’s 24 months down the road.”
The upgrading is being carried out under the multi-million dollar Jamaica Water Supply Improvement Project.

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