A massive rehabilitation and restructuring of the Kingston Metropolitan Area’s (KMA) water supply system has begun, says Water and Housing Minister, Hon. Dr. Horace Chang.
This will see a number of communities in West Rural St. Andrew, long plagued by water shortage, receiving supply within the next 12 – 24 months.
The Water Minister told residents of Stony Hill, and other surrounding areas, during a community meeting at the St. Jude’s Anglican Church Wednesday (March 3), that the project will cost US$85 million and is part of three major rehabilitation programmes to be undertaken by the Government.
“The three components of the water programme in the Corporate Area – the Jamaica Water Supply Improvement Project, the KMA project and the Kingston Water and Sanitation Project- are very ambitious because of the scope of it .but we have in fact committed ourselves to investing in infrastructure,” he said.
“I have been assured this (rehabilitation) will correct the problem. The contract has been signed, the money is in the bank, the Government guarantees are in place, we have a commitment and the work technically has started,” he stated.
He also noted that the KMA project will see a significant improvement in the system, including the wells, production, reducing energy costs as well as bringing new production on line, which will see an increase in water supply to about five million gallons per day.
Minister of Water and Housing, Hon. Dr. Horace Chang, and Member of Parliament for West Rural St. Andrew and State Minister in the Ministry of Labour and Social Security, Hon. Andrew Gallimore, speaking with residents during a community meeting at the St. Jude’s Anglican Church, Stony Hill, St. Andrew on Wednesday (March 3).
Dr. Chang further said specifically, for the community of Stony Hill, two new wells will be built in Halls Green, which will provide an additional two million gallons of water per day.
“We are also rehabilitating the Seaview Treatment plant to make it reliable in productivity, quality and volume. It’s an old plant and it needs rehabilitation to make it more reliable to keep production where it should be,” he told community members.
He said that the Ministry is looking at some of the network in Stony Hill, so the old pipe mains can be taken out and replaced.
Residents in areas such as Diamond Road will, for the first time, receive water.
“We are (also) rehabilitating the Constant Spring plant. It’s the largest water plant in Jamaica and maybe the Caribbean, its built capacity was 18 million gallons per day, it’s now down to between 12 and 14 and many times we have to close it. We are going to improve the capacity,” he promised.
Senior Projects Manager at the National Water Commission (NWC), Garth Jackson, said the Commission is working assiduously to put measures in place to mitigate the current drought situation.
He said that the NWC is putting in place a number of medium term measures to address the problems. This includes rehabilitating some wells in Kingston to produce between two and three million gallons per day, plus trying to fast track a number of other supplies, mainly out of Halls Green.
The minister also said the government was taking steps to reduce the about of water that is lost after production. Noting that about 60 per cent of all water that is produced is lost because of inefficient infrastructure.
“When we talk about capacity if we correct much of the technical leaks we would in fact have the water we need. We don’t have to start thinking about dams or reservoir yet, just stop the leaking. The programme is called the Reduction of Non-Revenue Water and we’re taking major steps to do that.”
“We have also taken some urgent measures in restoring some of our production facilities which were lying fallow in the corporate area,” he said. “We should begin producing from a well at Hamstead Park in Mountain View within the course of the next week we should get a million and half gallon.”
He said this will have a positive impact on other areas as once that well is in production there would be no need to send water to that community from Mona or Constant Spring.
He further said the NWC was also in the process of activating about four wells in the planes of St. Catherine that would supply water to Portmore.