JIS News

Corporate Public Relations Manager at the National Water Commission (NWC), Charles Buchanan, is assuring that the Commission is working to restore some of its systems during the course of on (Sept. 30).
“Some areas have had some restoration in power supply and so those systems that were being affected solely by power supply issues, we should be able to have those up and tested and running today,” he told JIS News in an interview.
For the past few days, the country has been experiencing severe weather conditions associated with Tropical Storm Nicole that has affected electricity and water systems.
Addressing a press conference called by Prime Minister, the Hon. Bruce Golding at Jamaica House on (Sept. 29), Mr. Buchanan had informed that a number of the NWC’s systems across the country were either experiencing total shutdown, or significant reduction in output capacity, that had resulted in no water, or low water pressure for some citizens.
Mr. Buchanan told JIS News today that despite experiencing difficulties due to damage to some of its facilities, the Commission was working to restore normality in the shortest possible time.
“We have suffered some internal electrical and or mechanical damage at some facilities, any system that can be put into operation, is being operated, but unfortunately, based on the level of damage sustained, the fact that we are still experiencing ongoing weather conditions, the rivers are still in spate and a number of areas are still blocked and still inundated,” he said.
He stressed that water supply systems are inherently vulnerable to extreme weather events and the current problems are not a mark of any incompetence or inefficiency on the part of NWC.
“We are heavily dependent on public power supply, because we have to pump to a very hilly terrain,” he pointed out.
He further explained that the NWC is dependent on a number of small river and spring sources, which in severe weather conditions become inundated.
“We are not only getting water coming downstream but heavily mud-laden water carrying a lot of debris, garbage, stones, sand, even trees. So this has severe impact on our intake structures some of which have been damaged. We have also had a number of blockages of our intakes and a number of access ways to our facilities have been impeded by landslides and flooding,” he said.
Mr. Buchanan informed that broken mains have also been reported in terms of the Commission’s transmission operations. “So, we are taking raw water from some locations to a treatment plant, and transmitting it between pumping stations. In some of these instances, that means that the entire network for that particular water supply system would be out,” he explained.
He noted however, that some wells, particularly in the Corporate Area, would be re-commissioned.
“Some of our well sources in Kingston and St. Andrew, the Havendale Well for instance, we expect that we should be able to get that up into operation and a few others like that,” he assured, adding that it may be a while before all the NWC’s systems are able to be put back into normal operations.

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