KINGSTON — The lives of over 1,200 residents in the communities of Richmond and Cane Heap, St. Mary, are expected to be significantly enhanced with the resuscitation of the Serjue Spring water supply system, which serves both areas.
The system, which was commissioned into service during a ceremony at the Richmond Road United Church on August 24, was upgraded at a cost of just over $1.1 million.
Funding for the project was provided from a grant of $832,000 from the European Union (EU), and $289,000 from the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) of Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives and Member of Parliament for South East St. Mary, Tarn Peralto.
Giving a project overview at the function, Mayor of Port Maria, Councillor Richard Creary, informed that the system was previously operated by the Parish Council, and was negotiated with the Serjue family to access water from a spring on their property.
The system's development, he outlined, included the creation of an entombment to store the water, and the installation of pipes throughout the community, to facilitate distribution.
Mayor Creary said, based on information received, the system was abandoned some time ago after the water supply diminished. He added that consequent on this, the Parish Council was forced to truck water to the residents.
He said representation was made to former State Minister with responsibility for Local Government, Hon. Robert Montague, to lobby for EU grant funding to finance the project, which led to the $832,000 allocation. Additionally, representation was also made to Member of Parliament, Mr. Peralto, who allocated approximately $289,000 from the CDF.
The Mayor said this facilitated construction of an additional catchment tank, a chlorine house, and the laying of pipes to allow for distribution to both the Richmond Primary School, and households.
"So, this has been a collaborative effort by many persons, many agencies, and today, the residents and school have water," Mr. Creary noted.
In her address, State Minister with responsibility for Local Government, Hon. Shahine Robinson, noted that the well-being, development and future of any community are predicated on a number of social and economic factors, chief among which is the availability of, and access to basic utilities, such as water.
“Access to clean water is not only a basic need, but a necessity. Human survival is dependent on water,” she emphasised.
Meanwhile, Mr. Montague, who is the current Agriculture and Fisheries Minister, described the occasion as a “very good day” in the lives of the residents.
“When a community is without water, it is not a good thing. To know that partnerships have been formed with the Parish Council, European Union, and the Member of Parliament to get a water supply system back in Richmond Road, it is a very good day for the community,” the Minister said, while urging the beneficiaries to ensure that their bills are paid to facilitate the system’s maintenance.
In his remarks, Mr. Peralto said it is pleasing to know that the people now have running water, once again, and commended all the stakeholders for the role they played in the project.
By Douglas Mcintosh, JIS Reporter