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Some 3, 500 residents of the community of York Street in Treadways, St. Catherine, and adjoining areas, now have access to potable water.

This follows the completion of work on phase two of the John Groyne water supply system, at a cost of $13 million. Completion of the second phase comes two years after the first segment was concluded at a cost of $9.6 million.

The project, undertaken by Rural Water Supply Limited (RWSL), an agency of the Ministry of Water, Land, Environment, and Climate Change, entailed the installation of pipelines to channel water to York Street, Palms Crossing, Bermaddy, Palms, Mingle Lane, Farm Yard, and Red Pond Lane. It also saw the installation of two chlorination facilities at Dawkins Bush.

Residents, inclusive of students of the York Street Primary School, who turned out on Friday (June 21) to witness the official commissioning, erupted in tumultuous cheers as Portfolio Minister, Hon. Robert Pickersgill, who is also Member of Parliament for North West St. Catherine, turned on the supply system.

Mr. Pickersgill noted that prior to the project’s implementation, householders were being served by a St. Catherine Parish Council-operated system, “which could no longer supply the growing population.”

He commended the RWSL for “working to bring this water to you. This means that they are fulfilling their mission statement by implementing rural water supply projects and ensuring the highest standards and adherence to time schedules and budget.”

He stated that the entity, which was established in 2004 to, among other things, develop new water systems island-wide, is “serious” about providing potable water for residents, particularly in rural communities.

In his remarks, RWSL Director, Bishop Omar Oliphant, noted that the provision of water is “most critical” for development “as it is not a convenience, it is an absolute necessity for life and health.”

“That is why the Rural Water Supply Limited has been mandated by the Minister of Water…to ensure that residents, who live in the rural areas, receive an adequate supply of this life saving commodity. We take great pride in our mandate of designing and developing engineering solutions for the delivery and rehabilitation of potable water systems in rural areas island-wide,” he said.

President of the National Water Commission (NWC), which has direct responsibility for the system, Albert Gordon, informed that the commission is “formulating a comprehensive plan” for York Street and adjoining communities “to ensure that everybody has access to safe drinking water, and that the supply is reliable.”

“We also want to commit to maintaining the system. We are endeavouring to provide the resources, so that…over time…the water supply can meet the growing demand for the community,” Mr. Gordon assured.

York Street Primary School Principal, Lennox Davis, described the commissioning as a “momentous occasion.”

“It is a wonderful day for York Street and adjoining communities, which are going to benefit from this new system. It will bring a more reliable and continuous supply of water to the communities, and we are grateful for this,” he said.

Mr. Dixon urged the beneficiaries to pay their bills to ensure that the system can be properly maintained to provide a steady supply of water.

The school’s Vice Principal, Alicia McLeod, and resident, Moya Blake, indicated that they too, are appreciative of the new water system.

By Douglas Mcintosh, JIS Reporter