JIS News

Story Highlights

  • The National Water Commission (NWC) will be restoring underground wells in the Corporate Area as part of efforts to alleviate water shortages.
  • This will provide another 200 million gallons of projected volume of water which is another 25 to 30 days extra of storage.
  • By this weekend, a prohibition notice will be issued on the washing of vehicles, watering of lawns, filling of swimming pools among other activities. Persons found to be in breach of the prohibition may be fined in a Resident Magistrate’s Court.

The National Water Commission (NWC) will be restoring underground wells in the Corporate Area as part of efforts to alleviate water shortages.

NWC Vice-President of Operations, Mark Blair, who made the disclosure during today’s (July 3) Jamaica House press briefing at the Office of the Prime Minister, said that the restoration work will begin next year.

He said that there are wells at Jamaica House, King’s House, Devon House, and in the downtown Kingston area. “We have to have mitigating measures and contingency plans to deal with the lack of rainfall and the best solution in our minds is to go to the ground water,” he stated.

Meanwhile, he informed that the procurement process is underway for the de-silting of the Hermitage Dam in St. Andrew, which is 60 per cent silted. “We are in the middle of a procurement process where we have shortlisted a few contractors…to de-silt over one million metre cube of sand, gravel and silt,” he informed, noting that the process is expected to last for eight to 10 months.

This will provide another 200 million gallons of projected volume of water which is another 25 to 30 days extra of storage. The dam was built in 1927 and no major work has been done in terms of siltation since then.

In the meantime, Head, Meteorological Service Jamaica, Jeffrey Spooner informed that the July to August dry period will pose severe challenges for Jamaica, adding that below average rainfall is expected for the period July to September.

He noted that the worse affected parishes are Kingston and St. Andrew, St. Thomas and St. Elizabeth. “What this is indicating to us is that if we are expecting below normal rainfall for the primary rainfall period of October, November, this will have severe implications for  water availability for the period January to April 2015,” he said.

The NWC will be implementing water restrictions to address the island-wide shortage in supply of the commodity due to unseasonably low rainfall since May. By this weekend, a prohibition notice will be issued on the washing of vehicles, watering of lawns, filling of swimming pools among other activities.  Persons found to be in breach of the prohibition may be fined in a Resident Magistrate’s Court.