The National Water Commission (NWC) is appealing to residents and business people in Negril to desist from purchasing water from illegal truck operators.
NWC Vice President for Non Revenue Water and Energy Cost Reduction, Mark Blair, said that unauthorised persons are taking water from the NWC system and selling it for up to $10 per gallon.
This, he said, is affecting the effective delivery of the commodity to drought-affected areas. In addition, he said, the company cannot guarantee the safety of the water provided by these trucks.
Mr. Blair was addressing hoteliers and community stakeholders at a meeting held on Wednesday (April 3) at Breezes, Negril.
The NWC reports that the police recently arrested several persons, who were illegally extracting water from NWC lines, and selling it out of trucks that might not be sterilised. The company says before it certifies any truck for water delivery, the carrier must go through a sterilisation process, to ensure the safety of the commodity.
“There were eight to nine trucks lining up. There will never be any water going to West End once that is happening, because it is like creating a four-inch leak on the line, with the pumps dragging the water,” Mr. Blair lamented.
He said that while he understands the needs, it is important that everyone cooperates to ensure the effective delivery of potable water during the drought period.
“All of us, as stakeholders, have to work together to ensure that we cooperate with the Rapid Response teams,” the Blair urged.
Minister of Tourism and Entertainment, Hon. Dr. Wykeham McNeill, also urged the residents to cooperate so that all can benefit.
Dr. McNeill, who is also Member of Parliament for Western Westmoreland, said that measures are being put in place to get water to the drought-affected areas.
Two additional water trucks have been assigned to the Negril area, and the Westmoreland Parish Council is stepping up its delivery efforts.
“Work will continue, through the parish council, to get the water to the communities. The drought has been very difficult and we have been able to address some of the problems with the business sector, especially the tourism sector in Negril,” he stated.