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The National Water Commission (NWC) is undertaking a major water development project, which will supply some 20 million additional gallons of water to communities in St. Catherine and the Corporate Area.
Cabinet approved the $18.5 billion contract for the works which will be carried out over the next 24 months, and will provide reliable water supply in adequate quantities for domestic use.
“Aspects of it will be to upgrade existing systems and other aspects are to bring on new supply,” informed Water and Housing Minister, Hon. Dr. Horace Chang, at yesterday’s (June 24) post-Cabinet press briefing at Jamaica House.
Providing details of the project, he informed that this would involve replacing the Rio Cobre pipeline in St. Catherine from Tulloch Springs. “It (the pipeline) was made from asbestos piping, which has a lifespan of just about 30 years, and it has just about exceeded that time,” Dr. Chang explained, noting that some two million gallons of water were being lost from this system daily because of leaks.
In addition, the Constant Spring plant, which is the largest in the island, is being rehabilitated to increase the current 12 million gallons average daily supply. The plant has the capacity to supply 18 million gallons of water per day.
The Seaview plant at Stony Hill is also being rehabilitated, with new lines to run to Red Hills, Forrest Hills and Halls Green into Lawrence Tavern. The line into Halls Green is expected to produce an additional two million gallons per day to the area.
As part of the project, a number of medium-sized systems will be constructed in several rural areas to increase overall supply to rural Jamaica from just under 50 per cent to 65 per cent, over the next three years.
Parishes to benefit include St. Ann, St. Mary, Northern St. Catherine, Central Manchester and Southern Trelawny. “This particular project will therefore bring to the Corporate Area and St. Catherine central and south, reliable, adequate, domestic water supply, for the first time in many years,” Dr. Chang stated.
The project is the largest infrastructure investment to be undertaken by the NWC, since 1985, when the Yallahs Valley pipeline was constructed.
On other matters, Cabinet also approved the award of a $2.5 billion contract for the development of Phase III of the Luana housing scheme in St. Elizabeth.
The project, Dr. Chang informed journalists, “is part of the Government’s drive, this year, to provide housing solutions, especially to working persons, and is part of a larger scheme that will take about 1,700 units to the Luana area.”
This phase of the project will comprise the construction of 51 units inclusive of 48 start-up homes and four lots. Some 270 units are to follow shortly, with the final phase to begin in the last quarter of the year. The project is being done through the National Housing Agency in conjunction with the National Housing Trust.