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Minister of Water and Housing, Donald Buchanan, yesterday (June 13) received a $25 million cheque from the Red Stripe/Diageo Foundation, towards the rehabilitation of water systems damaged or otherwise affected by Hurricane Ivan.
This cheque brings to $50 million the total amount of funds received by the government from the Red Stripe/Diageo Foundation, which has pledged a $100 million donation to the National Water Commission (NWC) to assist in the restoration of potable water supplies to communities most severely affected by the hurricane, which hit the island last September.
Work has since begun in several parishes and is continuing apace, said the Water and Housing Minister. “We have identified several very critical projects on which to expend this sum, and indeed, when we conducted our survey and looked at what was required in these communities, we recognised that in spite of the generosity of the contribution, more was required. So in fact, although Red Stripe/Diageo has contributed $100 million, the projects to be undertaken will amount to some $140 million, of which $40 million will come from the coffers of the National Water Commission,” he informed.
The major projects being undertaken under the Red Stripe/Diageo Foundation and NWC Hurricane Ivan Water Supply Restoration and Improvement Project include the Venture River project in Westmoreland, the Lacovia/Slipe project in St. Elizabeth, the Sherwood project in Trelawny, the Kellits project in Clarendon, the Brighton/Little Bay project in Westmoreland, and the Woodlands/Blackgate project in Hanover.
“There are also a number of smaller projects being implemented in St. Thomas. A total of 10 small, but critical projects to serve communities, which have not had any sort of potable water supply in recent times, and whose situation was exacerbated with the passage of Hurricane Ivan,” said the Minister.
Work in these projects include the repair and installation of water treatment and purification systems, repair/rehabilitation of civil infrastructure at plants, reconstruction of broken and dislocated pumping and distribution pipelines, and repairs to reservoir and tanks.
The Water Minister gave the assurance that the NWC would ensure the completion and sustainability of all projects initiated with the funds received, adding too that work was on schedule.
“Already, significant implementation has taken place and all of these projects are slated to be completed by August, in advance of the anniversary of the passage of Ivan,” he said.
Corporate Relations Director at Red Stripe, Noel DaCosta, who was on hand to present the cheque to Minister Buchanan, reiterated his company’s commitment to “partnering with the National Water Commission and with the government to bring potable water to as many people as is possible, and those affected particularly by the passage of Hurricane Ivan.”
“We think that this partnership is a model and we would like to recommend to the private sector and to the government to work together towards solving issues of national import,” said Mr. DaCosta.