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Some $250 million has been allocated to the Rural Water Supply Project, a programme under the Ministry of Housing, Transport and Works, in the 2006/2007 Estimates of Expenditure, which is now before the House of Representatives.
The objective of the project is to improve basic sanitary/health conditions by increasing the coverage of potable water and sanitation services in poor rural areas, as defined in the Jamaica Poverty Map.
When devised, the initial targets for the project’s potable water systems were to design, construct, install and supervise water systems and individua1 sanitation schemes for communities, and the provision of house connection and individual solutions for the disposal of wastewater to communities averaging approximately 4,000 inhabitants each. In respect of the community and private sector participation component of the programme, it was initially targeted to advertise/market the project characteristics and requisites for participation; establish an education programme in rural communities to promote rational and efficient water use; and the form community water organisations to develop and implement the project.
On the matter of the institutional strengthening of the Ministry, the project originally sought to provide consultancy services to implement the Rural Water Programme and train officials in community development, private sector development and the execution of the Water Policy.
Up to March of this year, the Rural Water Supply Project has recorded several achievements. These include: 70 per cent completion of the Cotterwood water supply work civil works; 20 per cent completion of the White Horses/Botany Bay/Pamphret water supply civil works; the issuing of a tender for the Gravel Hill water supply system, and the training of beneficiaries in the community water organisations.
For the current financial year, the project expects to complete the water supply systems in Cotterwood, White Horses/Botany Bay/Pamphret, and Gravel Hill. Furthermore, other goals that have been set out are, 50 per cent completion of the Mile Gully/Warwick Castle water supply project; the construction of 15 sanitation solutions, the training of the beneficiaries in the management of a water supply system, and the institutional strengthening of community water organisations.
The Rural Water Supply Project began in April 2002 and is slated to last until February 2007. The Government of Jamaica and the Inter-American Development Bank jointly fund the project.