JIS News

Story Highlights

  • The National Irrigation Commission (NIC) Limited is to continue its consultations with stakeholders for the proposed closed-conduit (piped) irrigation system, which is to be implemented in the Hill Run Community in Central St. Catherine.
  • The system will provide water to fish farms located in the area that now access water through an open channel supplied by the Rio Cobre system, which was built in 1876.
  • The project will also include a pipeline network of about 11.4 kilometres of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) buried lines ranging in diameter from four to 16 inches.

The National Irrigation Commission (NIC) Limited is to continue its consultations with stakeholders for the proposed closed-conduit (piped) irrigation system, which is to be implemented in the Hill Run Community in Central St. Catherine.

Addressing a recent JIS Think Tank, Chief Executive Officer of the NIC, Dr. Mark Richards, said the piped system will ensure a reliable and efficient supply of irrigation water to the fish farms.

This, he said, will provide equity in the distribution of water and also foster productivity.

Dr. Richards told JIS News that the majority of the farmers are in support of the project, “but some concerns have been raised which we will address.  With the support we have received so far from the consultations, we are moving into the phase of funding.”

Director of Engineering and Technical Service at the NIC, Milton Henry, explained that with the current open channel system, there is often inequality of supply to farms.

“As you move lower, there is a greater risk that you will get less water as the service tends to be more advantageous to those farms nearest to the source,” he noted.

Another downside to the existing system is that farmers have to call in to place their order for water, which may take a few days to be transmitted to them, and during the conveyance some water is lost through a process called evapo-transpiration.

“The aim of the NIC is to eliminate all the issues that contribute to inequity, inefficiency, contamination or any concerns that are inherent to the system,” Mr. Henry said.

“In our proposal for the Hill Run Project, we said that the most cost effective and prudent method is to have a system that is piped.  This will ensure that the water quality is protected, water losses are reduced, and the farmers will be able to get water at a pressure  that they themselves don’t have to do the pumping to get to their ponds filled, which is now the case,” he noted further.

Design Engineer at the NIC, Renford Smith, informed that the proposed closed conduit or pressurised system, will involved construction of a pumping station with a siltation basin (pre-treatment), which will get rid of the sediments before the distribution of the water to the farmers.

The pumping station, which will be powered by the Jamaica Public Service Company (JPS), will utilise two pumps with 60:40 ratio; one at 190 horsepower and the other at 125 horsepower.

The project will also include a pipeline network of about 11.4 kilometres of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) buried lines ranging in diameter from four to 16 inches.