Approximately 300 residents of Sligoville and surrounding communities in St. Catherine now have water flowing into their homes, after living without the facility for up to six years.
This has resulted from the rehabilitation of the Sligoville Water Supply System at a cost of $50 million, by the Government of the People’s Republic of China.
The system, situated at the Sligoville Park, was officially commissioned into service on Tuesday, May 21, during a handing over ceremony.
The project, which commenced on November 15 last year, was completed on April 15 this year. It involved the replacement of all eight water pumps used on the four-stage pumping system. Connecting pipelines were also installed between each water pump and existing valves. The electric cabinet in the number 4 pumping station was also rehabilitated.
Minister of Water, Land, Environment and Climate Change, Hon. Robert Pickersgill, said the Sligoville water system is one of the most challenging water supply systems in the country, primarily because of its elevation, electricity demand and its number of pumping stations.
“As such, it has been beset by a number of challenges over the years,” he explained.
“The main source of water for the Sligoville community is the Rio Cobre system which, although relatively close by, is at a much lower elevation. This not only makes it difficult and costly to get the water to this community, but also makes the system vulnerable to the risk of breaking down,” the Minister said.
He noted that the rehabilitation work that was carried out will provide the National Water Commission (NWC) with a new set of reliable electrical pumps at all the pumping stations.
“This in turn will improve the dependability of the pumping operations and deliver improved service to the communities they serve,” he said.
Meanwhile, Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China to Jamaica, His Excellency Zheng Qingdian, described the occasion as an “exciting, historic moment”, which signified another fruitful co-operation between Jamaica and China.
He said the lives of residents will be improved greatly and the economy in the community will be more prosperous.
“All the families of the community (can) enjoy fresh water at home and neighbouring communities can have access to the water due to this project as well,” the Ambassador said.
For her part, Minister with responsibility for Sports and Member of Parliament for the area, Hon. Natalie Neita Headley, thanked China for the gift of water that “was long overdue” for the residents.
She encouraged residents to ensure they fix the pipes in their homes that are leaking, so they can reap the maximum benefit from the system. She also urged residents to ensure they pay for the water.
“It’s going to be critical that while I hold the NWC responsible for providing the water, I hold the citizens responsible for paying for the water,” the Minister said.
Contact: Alecia Smith-Edwards