JIS News

Thousands are slated to be directly employed under the National Water Commission’s (NWC) K-Factor Programme.

Some 5,000 persons are expected to work on the programme which will see the implementation of potable and waste water projects across the island.

Speaking at the programme’s launch on Wednesday (January 23) at the Four Seasons Hotel in St. Andrew, Minister of Water, Land, Environment and Climate Change, Hon. Robert Pickersgill, said jobs will be created for hundreds of other skilled workers.

The K-Factor programme has, as its primary objective, the sustainable regeneration, rehabilitation and improvement of the country’s water and waste water systems.

The projects, which total $50 billion, will be implemented over the next eight years, with 300,000 NWC customers to benefit.

Minister Pickersgill said so far, approximately $15 billion worth of K-factor projects have been approved by the Office of Utilities Regulation (OUR).

This first tranche will focus on providing critical service to some areas and completing efficiency improvement projects across several parishes.

He said that the K-factor programme is a key part of the NWC’s strategic plan to comprehensively address deficiencies and improve water supply and sewerage services.

“The introduction of the K-Factor facility is a monumental response to the NWC’s operational challenges, including aging infrastructure, and the servicing of equipment and machinery, which continue to threaten its prospects for viability,”

“[The project will] help [us] manage our water resources for long-term sustainability, improve the regulatory and institutional environments; spearhead transformation of the water and sewerage sector, and support the development of our nation,” the Minister said.

The projects earmarked under the K-Factor programme include an $8.13 billion Tanks and Pumps Rehabilitation programme; an island-wide non-revenue water reduction and control programme to reduce physical and commercial water losses by 50 per cent; rehabilitation of 44 wastewater plants across the country; and the expansion of connections to the Kingston Metropolitan Area sewerage system.

NWC Chairman, Dr. Leary Myers, said it is critical that projects are implemented in a timely manner.

“The board of commissioners has formed itself into a projects committee and will in no uncertain terms, hold the officers and staff of the commission accountable for meeting schedules,” he stated.

The K-Factor Programme is an interagency partnership involving the NWC, OUR, and the Government.

The OUR-monitored facility, allows the NWC to use a pre-determined percentage of customers’ bills to implement non-revenue water reduction, sewerage and other specifically approved operational efficiency projects. The K-Factor funds are later repaid to customers as an X-Factor on their bills.