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Story Highlights

  • National Water Commission (NWC) customers who are experiencing inconsistencies in their water supply on the scheduled distribution days are being asked to report these incidences to the agency.
  • Corporate Communications Manager at the NWC, Charles Buchanan, said once the matter is brought to the attention of the agency, “the field personnel will investigate, and we’ll try to respond.”
  • Under the NWC’s current water restriction system, most customers within the Kingston Metropolitan Area (KMA) served by the Hermitage/Constant Spring, Mona, Hope and Seaview water supply systems are expected to receive water every other day.

National Water Commission (NWC) customers who are experiencing inconsistencies in their water supply on the scheduled distribution days are being asked to report these incidences to the agency.

Speaking at a Jamaica House Media Briefing at the Office of the Prime Minister on July 15, Corporate Communications Manager at the NWC, Charles Buchanan, said once the matter is brought to the attention of the agency, “the field personnel will investigate, and we’ll try to respond.”

Under the NWC’s current water restriction system, most customers within the Kingston Metropolitan Area (KMA) served by the Hermitage/Constant Spring, Mona, Hope and Seaview water supply systems are expected to receive water every other day.

The regime was put in place as a result of a decline in inflows into the major Corporate Area water supply systems, due to the harsh drought conditions currently affecting the country.

Mr. Buchanan sought to explain some of the reasons customers may be experiencing extended water lock-offs, despite the NWC’s scheduling system.

“We had recognised…when we were establishing the schedule…that unfortunately, there will be some areas that despite the best efforts and the schedule that we had put in place, may not be able to receive piped supply, simply because of where they are on the network, their elevation, and the time required for the system to charge to get to them,” he said.

He further noted that the NWC encountered additional problems, such as power supply problems on the network overnight, broken transmission lines, as well as air blockages in the system.

Mr. Buchanan also pointed out that last week water supply was disrupted for about 24 hours, due to a freak storm which caused a loss of power supply.

“We (had) more than 18 million gallons of water that we had available, but could not get into the Corporate Area because of that. We have had a few other instances and hiccups since then. When you are operating your water supply network, in these abnormal conditions, where the pressure fluctuations in the pipeline is very wild, you will end up with an increased frequency of breaks on your lines, so since last week, we have had a number of instances where large transmission mains have broken and we had to intervene to repair them, unfortunately disrupting the supply to persons,” he said.

The Communications Manager further explained that persons may not receive water at the scheduled times, based on how the water supply system normally works.

“The time it takes the system to charge varies greatly, so for example, at the  Hermitage/Constant Spring system, unlike electricity supply, where you basically turn a switch at a plant and the entire network lights up almost instantaneously (with) water supply, the water has to leave the treatment plant, and gradually flow because you don’t want it to move too rapidly and then rupture your lines,” he said.

Mr. Buchanan noted as well, that if that system is very long, like the Hermitage/Constant Spring structure, it will take, in some cases, hours before some persons begin to receive supply.

He noted for instance, that this is one reason why most customers on the Hermitage/Constant Spring system do not receive water at 4:00 in the morning, when the plant begins operations. “So, it will take for most people about two hours, but for some areas, it will take more,” he added.