A total of $3 billion has been allocated to the National Water Commission (NWC) to undertake a major programme to replace or rehabilitate several of the 445 water storage tanks across the island to bring them to full functionality.
Minister of Water, Land, Environment and Climate, Hon. Robert Pickergsill, who made the announcement during the sitting of the House of Representatives Tuesday (January 22), said the money is being provided under the K-Factor Programme. It is part of measures to address drought conditions currently affecting the island.
The Minister said that over the next three months, approximately $100 million will be spent on bushing, inspection, assessment and performance of minor repairs on these facilities.
“In addition, for tanks in areas affected by drought, more significant emergency work, totaling an additional $100 million, will also be carried out over the three-month period. The remaining funds are expected to be used for engineering, major rehabilitation or replacement of other tanks requiring such intervention,” Mr. Pickersgill said.
The Water Minister also informed that the Ministry, through the Rapid Response Unit, has 70 wayside tanks throughout the island, many of which have fallen into disrepair following the winding up of the unit by the former administration.
“It will cost a total of approximately $7 million to repair these tanks. We realize that given the current drought conditions, these tanks need to be rehabilitated and to be put back into service, and so my Ministry will be moving expeditiously to undertake the necessary repairs,” Mr. Pickersgill said.
In the meantime, the Minister informed that the storage levels at both the Mona Reservoir and the Hermitage Dam are near 100 per cent. He noted, however, that these storage levels are expected to decline during the prolonged dry season.
“It is therefore imperative that the public conserve on its use of water over the next three to four months until the other expected period of precipitation in May,” the Minister urged.