Pipe-laying works have commenced on the multi-billion dollar Portmore Pipeline Project, being implemented by the National Water Commission (NWC), which is expected to significantly improve the delivery of potable water to communities in south eastern St. Catherine.
The 15-month project, for which contracts were signed in September 2011, is being executed by the civil engineering firm, Ashtrom Building Systems Limited, at a cost of $1.2 billion. It is slated for completion in May 2013.
It forms part of the overall US$87 million ($7.98 billion) Kingston Metropolitan Area (KMA) Water Supply Improvement Project, being jointly funded by the Government of Jamaica (GoJ) and the Japan International Co-operation Agency (JICA), and is intended to improve the supply of water to Greater Spanish Town and Portmore, which along with Kingston and St. Andrew, comprise the KMA Region.
Water, Land, Environment and Climate Change Minister, Hon. Robert Pickersgill, on November 22, headed the dignitaries who performed the symbolic ground breaking exercise at the project site, along the Municipal Boulevard (I -95) in St. Catherine, to mark the commencement of the pipe-laying phase.
In his address, Mr. Pickersgill disclosed that the project will entail the installation of 10 kilometres of transmission main from the Rio Cobre pipeline in Caymanas, across Mandela Highway, along Municipal Boulevard, to the existing Marley Hill Reservoir at Braeton.
He said this major component will be supported by the installation of three kilometres of secondary pipe mains to reinforce Portmore’s water distribution network, along Passage Fort Drive, Germaine Road, Port Henderson Drive, and Portmore Parkway. In addition, the Minister said 10 bulk flow meters will be installed to assist in reducing, monitoring and controlling the levels of “non-revenue” water.
“These works are expected to facilitate the increase in the existing supplies to Portmore by three million gallons per day, and allow for more effective flows through the distribution network,” the Minister pointed out.
"These much needed improvements in water supply provision will certainly improve service reliability and service quality to the customers of the National Water Commission (NWC),” he added.
Mr. Pickersgill advised that residents would be inconvenienced with occasional interruptions in water supply, possible traffic delays, and noise and dust nuisance, and urged them to exercise patience, co-operation and understanding during the project’s implementation.
"I am advised to assure you that all road surfaces and other areas that are excavated or otherwise disturbed during implementation, will be restored to their previous condition or made better,” he said.
Mr. Pickersgill pointed out that the Portmore Pipeline project is one of a number of similar water supply improvement projects that will be undertaken as part of a “comprehensive strategy,” aimed at “contributing more to national development and improving the quality of life of persons across the length and breadth of Jamaica."
State Ministers for Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, and Local Government and Community Development, Hon. Arnaldo Brown and Colin Fagan, who are the Members of Parliament for East Central and South East St. Catherine, respectively, welcomed the project and expressed their anticipation of improvements in the supply of potable water to their constituents.