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The National Water Commission (NWC) is reporting that at the end of November its monthly billing for areas in Stony Hill, St. Andrew, reflected a 56 per cent increase, due to improvements in the water supply to six communities there.

This has been facilitated through improvement in the Stony Hill distribution network, under the Category A1 works of the Jamaica Water Supply Improvement Project (JWSIP), which is at an advanced stage of completion.

The communities include Stony Hill; Sherbourne/Kingswood; Golden Spring; Diamond Road; Wireless Station Road; and Mannings Hill Road.

According to the NWC, non-revenue water in Stony Hill was reduced from 70 per cent to 60 per cent.

“What this means for the NWC is that 2,350 households are currently receiving 24 hours of reliable water supply. This is a commendable achievement,” Minister of Water, Land, Environment and Climate Change, Hon. Robert Pickersgill  said, as he addressed the official signing of the contract for  the Category B phase of the JWSIP, at the Ministry’s New Kingston offices on December  20.

Additionally, the project allowed for 760 new customers in informal settlements to be added to the NWC database. This resulted in an additional $683,000 in revenue, also in November.

The Category B component will begin next month and is scheduled for completion in two years. The scope of works include: replacement of the second segment of the Rio Cobre pipeline between Content District and Ferry with 14,000 metres of ductile iron pipes; and supply and install 20,000 electronic water meters for domestic service, and 3,000 for commercial customers.

Also to be undertaken are: the development of ground water sources to produce three million gallons of water per day; refurbishment of the Bogue water treatment plant in Ocho Rios; upgrading of the water supply system which serves Linstead and Ewarton; upgrading of the Norwood water supply system in St. James; and refurbishing of the Great River water treatment plant, also in St. James, as well as the treatment plant in Martha Brae, Trelawny.

The US$68.85 million project is being financed by the Bank of Nova Scotia, National Commercial Bank, and First Caribbean International Bank/CIBC, with the works contracted to Vinci Construction Grand Projects, which has partnered with the Government on a number of other projects.

Under Category A of the project, several other initiatives, in addition to the Stony Hill distribution network, have been successfully completed. These include: replacement of the first segment of the Rio Cobre pipeline in the Bog Walk Gorge; rehabilitation of the 18-million gallons per day Constant Spring water treatment plant, and the Seaview water treatment plant was restored.

Additionally, 70,000 water meters were installed in the parishes of Kingston and St. Andrew, St. Ann, Clarendon, St. Mary and St. Catherine, while water supply systems were constructed for Kitson Town and other adjoining areas in St. Catherine.