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Story Highlights

  • Residents in the community of Pennants, Clarendon, are welcoming the construction of a $10-million pilot ‘water shop’, which is expected to serve some 1,000 persons in the area.
  • The ‘water shop’ concept will see facilities being established island wide to dramatically improve the availability of potable water for residents in communities and regions of the island usually affected by drought.

Residents in the community of Pennants, Clarendon, are welcoming the construction of a $10-million pilot ‘water shop’, which is expected to serve some 1,000 persons in the area.

On completion of the project early next year, residents will benefit from three months free water. Thereafter, a cost will be applied.

The ‘water shop’ concept will see facilities being established island wide to dramatically improve the availability of potable water for residents in communities and regions of the island usually affected by drought.

Each complex will consist of eight 1,000-gallon water tanks, which will be fenced. There will also be an administrative office with modern amenities.

Speaking in an interview with JIS News, at ground breaking ceremony on November 23, residents, Udena Chambers and Miss Shanika Freman, hailed the project as transformative, and making life much easier.

Miss Chambers pointed to the difficulty residents had in obtaining access to potable water with reliable frequency, especially since Pennants and other communities in the parish suffered from frequent dry spells.

“We really have a water problem in Pennants and so I’m hoping that this Water shop will provide the solution to our water woes,” she said.

For her part Miss Freman noted that she is waiting the completion and implementation of the project.

“Let’s see what happens. It’s a good start and if it works as they say it will, then it will solve a lot of problems for us here in Pennants. But let’s wait and see,” she said smiling.

Pennants, in Clarendon is in an area that suffers from limited access to piped water.

Currently, water trucks are brought in to supply residents with potable water, however sometimes, the trucks run out of water while servicing one section of the community.

Minister of Local Government and Community Development, Hon. Desmond McKenzie says the water shop project will put an end to this issue.

“I am going to call upon the Clarendon Municipal Corporation to monitor the project on a regular basis, to ensure that there are no major complaints and that all the things that are necessary to make it work are done,” Minister McKenzie stated.

The Local Government Minister said while the ‘Water Shop’ concept is a novel one, it aims to provide a solution for easy or easier access to potable water in communities that have a perennial problem in accessing potable water reliably for domestic use.

The project, if successful, will pave the way for Water Shops being established at various locations island wide.

“There are other sections of Clarendon, Manchester and St. Elizabeth which are the three targeted parishes. Others include sections of the corporate area such as East and West Rural St. Andrew where there is a chronic shortage of water,” he noted.

The project will also be providing some employment opportunities for residents of the community during the construction phase.

At the ground breaking exercise, Minister McKenzie described persons being affected by a lack of piped water as “a degrading experience”.

He said it was government’s intention to change that, reducing such incidents over time.

“If we are to replicate it across the country, which we intend to do, then this pilot project has to be successful. Therefore the community has to buy into the project, have to accept and own the project as their personal responsibility,” he said.

Meanwhile, Chief Executive Officer of the Clarendon Municipal Corporation Rowhan Blake noted that the corporation has embarked on several projects aimed at providing and improving the supply of water to a number of communities within the parish.

He noted that there were 21 rainwater harvesting systems with a combined capacity of 615,000 gallons and 21 entombed springs with a combined capacity of 260,500 gallons.

He stressed that the Pennants water shop was a very welcomed addition to the parish’s water project, as it would enable the corporation to provide water where the commodity was scarce.

For his part, General Manager of Engineering at Rural water Supply Limited Douglas Wilson, urged the residents of Pennants to guard their water shop against any kind of misuse or damage from anyone.

“I’m appealing to the people of Pennants and Clarendon in general to look after the system, maintain it. Look after it at an individual, community and parish level, it’s yours,” he said.

The water shop project is the collaborative effort of the Ministry of Local Government and Community Development, the Clarendon Municipal Corporation and Rural Water Supply Limited.