The subject of my presentation is “PARTNERING FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT”. In this regard I would like to thank the Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Portia Simpson Miller for conceptualizing and forming this new Ministry of Water, Land, Environment and Climate Change.
My use of the word “partnering” is deliberate, as my portfolio areas touch and concern everyone. No one is excluded, particularly from our newest area, Climate Change. As such, it is not by accident that we have an umbrella ministry, but by design. This administration understands the interrelationship and interconnectedness between all these portfolio areas. Indeed how we treat with our water sources and utilize our land impact on the environment and vice versa, All of these areas are being affected one way or the other by Climate Change to which we will all have to adapt. Indeed, “With Climate Change, We Must Change”.
This administration is aware that “Teamwork Divides the effort, but multiplies the effect”. We therefore acknowledge the need for partnership and an integrated or “joined up” approach in managing all four portfolio areas of responsibility, with Sustainable Development as our overarching goal.
WATER – THE LIFEBLOOD OF OUR NATION
I begin with the water Portfolio. As a resource, water is, without a doubt, the lifeblood of any nation. Its importance is underscored by the fact that two former United Nations Secretaries General, and a former Vice President of the World Bank have opined that the next World War may very well be fought over water.
Its impact on sustainable development is without parallel and it is critical for the maintenance of environmental and human health and for supporting all human activities…residential, commercial, industrial, electricity generation and agriculture.
As such, the provision of potable water to meet the needs of our population, particularly our rural population, is a focal point for this administration and for my Ministry.
Our vision for the development of water related infrastructure and supply, spans the length and breadth of this island. This vision is encapsulated in our Manifesto which calls for the creation of “an enabling environment within which agencies under the water sector can flourish, as well as the provision of policy prescriptions which support the sustained viability of the various water and sewerage service providers”. All of this will be buttressed by comprehensive watershed management programmes which will be implemented in all parishes.
We have heard the call for water all across Jamaica and our agencies responsible for water, are responding to that call by undertaking research, implementing projects and adopting strategies to maximize the volume of water available to our citizens, and improve its quality.
THE NATIONAL WATER COMMISSION
Although there are challenges in the water and wastewater sectors, the government continues to work assiduously to overcome them. I am happy to report our accomplishments in the Water Sector.
COMPLETED WATER PROJECTS
Works were completed on the following components of the Jamaica Water Supply Improvement Project.
Rehabilitation of the Constant Spring Treatment Plant
The Constant Spring Treatment Plant was completed at a cost of J$704 million. New and more efficient meters which will yield more accurate readings have been installed, facilitating connections to almost 50,000 households in the Corporate Area and 20,000 in Ocho Rios, St. Mary, St. Catherine and May Pen.
Two treatment plants were rehabilitated at Seaview in Stony Hill
This has improved the reliability of our service to approximately twenty thousand (20,000) persons.
A new supply system was integrated into the network at Kitson Town.
Under the project, service was extended to new areas removing the dependence of householders on high priced trucked water.
Rio Cobre Gorge
Approximately six (6) kilometers of new Ductile Iron pipes were laid to replace old pipes which were about fifty years old. This was at a cost of over J$700m.
Stony Hill Area Distribution Network Improvements.
I am pleased to report that the Stony Hill Distribution Network Improvements have been completed at a cost of J$382.7 million. The works included replacement of leaking pipes and the upgrade of the pipe diameter in certain areas as well as the installation of pressure reducing valves, resulting in a number of areas previously on water scheduling now enjoying 24 hour supply. This has improved supplies to about 10,000 persons.
Let me pay tribute to the Member from N.W. St. James for his role in pushing ahead with the projects, I have just described, but I am reminded of the verse in the Bible from 1 Corinthians chapter 3 and vs. 6 which says “Iplanted, Appollus watered, but God gave the increase”. When translated this is Bobby planted, Horace watered but the increase has come in my time.
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