Some 2,000 residents in the New Roads community of Westmoreland have welcomed the rehabilitation of a catchment tank that will ease the daily challenge they have faced over the years in securing potable water.
The tank, which is located in the deep rural section of the parish where there is a heavy dependence on rain water, was rehabilitated at a cost of over $1 million through the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The facility was handed over on March 22.
This project was spearheaded by the East Westmoreland Straw Producers Co-operative and Member of Parliament for the area, Hon. Luther Buchanan.
“We are grateful for this restoration. I know this community will reap more benefits, because we are going to find ways and means to have a better way of life,” said President of the East Westmoreland Straw Craft Producers Co-operative, Derron Spence.
Teacher at the New Roads All Age School, Mrs. Sherine Richards-Griffiths, said residents in the community had to travel long distances to fetch the commodity, and also purchase it at a high cost for animals and other domestic use.
She also noted that the children had to fetch water and this resulted in some of them being late for school.
“It is a wonderful feeling. This is a big step for the community, and I applaud the Government. It will also be beneficial for the school as well,” the teacher said.
The initiative came about after the East Westmoreland Straw Craft Producers Co-operative submitted a small grant application to the Jamaica Rural Economy and Ecosystems Adapting to Climate Change (Ja REACH) programme, a USAID project, in 2012, requesting funding to rehabilitate the community tank.
The community depends on the tank during the dry season or during extreme drought conditions when rainfall is at a minimum. Over time the facility’s infrastructure deteriorated, resulting in cracks and leaks, which limited the tank’s capacity to supply the community during the dry season.
By Garfield L. Angus, JIS Reporter