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Some 16,000 residents from 16 communities in Clarendon and Manchester are to benefit from the construction of two water supply schemes at a cost of more than $240 million.
M&M Jamaica Limited has been awarded the contracts for the Milk River and Christiana/Spalding water supply systems, which are being funded by the European Union under the Rural Water Supply Project. Work is expected to get underway in January 2006 and should be completed within 20 months.
Minister of Water and Housing, Donald Buchanan, speaking at the official signing ceremony, held yesterday (Dec.13) at the New Kingston offices of the National Water Commission (NWC), noted that “despite piping water to over 400 communities in the last seven years, there are still others in which piped water is either severely deficient or non-existent.” To this end, the Government, with the assistance of the EU is working to ensure that this deficiency is addressed.
“Today’s signing of these two contracts valued at $242,849,702 marks the beginning of this phase of addressing this shortfall. All wheels will be set in motion to bring the precious commodity to a number of communities that will be served from these two projects,” he stated.
The projects are two of four to be constructed under phase two of the Rural Water Supply Project, which is being funded through a grant of 10 million Euros (approximately J$750 million) from the European Union to the Jamaican Government.
Approximately 6,000 persons in the areas of Cherry Hill, Milk River Bath, Ramble Pen, Milk River, Milk River Spa, Pridees and Farquar Beach will benefit from the Milk River Water Supply Project. The scope of work will include the rehabilitation and replacement of pumps; upgrading and extension of distribution and transmission mains; the replacement of approximately 447 service connections to customers; the construction of a new storage reservoir; and the installation of seven bulk flow meters. The improvements will reduce unaccounted for water by an estimated 30 per cent reduction by 2009, Minister Buchanan asserted.
The Christiana/Spalding Water Supply Project will serve approximately 10,000 residents in Alston, Santa Hill, Baillieston, Zinc Shop, Spalding, White Shop, Comfort, Laughton Town and Bullocks and is expected to reduce unaccounted for water by 40 per cent by the end of 2009.
Work on this project will include the construction of a new intake at the confluence of the Cave/Yankee Rivers; construction of a new water treatment plant at Two Meetings; construction of a new high-lift pump station at the Water Treatment Plant to pump water to Spalding; construction of a new storage reservoir, high-lift pump station and pumping main from Baillieston Reservoir to Spalding; the rehabilitation of the existing transmission network, existing reservoirs and pumping stations; as well as replacement of existing connections.
Minister Buchanan, though acknowledging that the water supply projects will improve the standard of living in rural areas and enable economic development, pointed out that the beneficiaries must do their part to ensure the projects’ success.
Gerd Jarchow, Head of the EU Delegation to Jamaica, who was on hand to endorse the signing of the multimillion-dollar contracts, also noted the importance of having good water supply all across Jamaica.
“It has been acknowledged that social and economic development in rural areas is hindered by a lack of adequate infrastructure and services, especially water supplies,” he said, adding that “whilst Jamaica has in recent years made significant progress in providing water services to its people, the poorest members of the population, most of whom live in the rural areas, have not always been able to share in these improvements.”
For his part, Managing Director of M&M Jamaica Limited, Donald Mullings gave the assurance that the projects would be completed on time and well within budget.
The National Water Commission, through a German-Austrian engineering consortium, HP. Gauff – SETEC, will supervise the quality of the work.Also on hand to witness the signing were Harry Douglas, State Minister for Water and Housing; Dr. Wesley Hughes, Director General of the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ); and Members of Parliament Charles Learmond, Richard Azan and Audley Shaw.