- Thousands of persons in rural parishes are benefitting from improved water supplies.
- This has been made possible through the Catchment Tank Rehabilitation Programme, being carried out by the Rural Water Supply Limited (RWSL), in collaboration with the parish councils.
- The RWSL has also collaborated with the Ministry of Water, Land, Environment and Climate Change to provide 700 households with roof guttering and black tanks.
Thousands of persons in the parishes of St. Ann, Westmoreland, St. James, Trelawny, St. Elizabeth, Manchester and Clarendon are benefitting from improved water supplies.
This has been made possible through the Catchment Tank Rehabilitation Programme, being carried out by the Rural Water Supply Limited (RWSL), in collaboration with the parish councils.
According to statistics from parish council records, there are 282 community catchment tanks distributed across Jamaica, and with the aggressive programme of rehabilitation by the RWSL, 80 of these tanks have so far been refurbished and activated at a cost of $107.8 million.
Director of the RWSL, Omar Oliphant, indicates that the focus has been on establishing rainwater harvesting techniques for areas devoid of alternative water sources.
“In the St. Elizabeth area, some 16 tanks have so far been refurbished. This includes the Portsea catchment tank (commissioned recently). An additional five such tanks are to be completed during this financial year. Works have already commenced on the Genius and Melsham tanks, which are scheduled for early completion,” Mr. Oliphant tells JIS News.
He also informs that rainwater catchment facilities that have been refurbished in Ivor Cottage and Rose Hall in the parish are functioning effectively, thereby reducing the trucking of water to those areas.
“Based on budgetary allocation for this financial year, the Rural Water Supply Limited intends to complete 30 catchment tanks in the parishes – two in Clarendon, six in Manchester, six in St. Ann, six in St. Elizabeth and 10 in Westmoreland,” Mr. Oliphant says.
Through persistent experiments, the engineers assigned to the catchment tank rehabilitation project have successfully devised a cost-effective method of replacing the covering of the tanks by designing light weight Ferro Cement roofing. This type of roofing was used on the Portsea catchment tank.
Minister of Water, Land, Environment and Climate Change, Hon. Robert Pickersgill, addressing the recent commissioning ceremony for the refurbished Portsea catchment tank, in South St. Elizabeth, commended citizens of the community for utilizing the concrete tank method of catching and storing rainwater for domestic use.
“I am happy to see that you have taken concrete steps to address the challenges you face from the lack of water, through the practice of rainwater harvesting,” the Minister told the residents.
“Everywhere I go in this country, no matter whether the parish is traditionally dry or experiences above average rainfall, I tell the residents that we must return to rainwater harvesting as one of the main methods of ensuring our country’s water security,” Mr. Pickersgill added.
He informed the residents that water is a very empowering resource and by providing citizens with reliable sources, the Government is equipping them with the potential to attract new businesses, while improving on existing ones.
Meanwhile, Mr. Oliphant tells JIS News that RWSL has also carried out rainwater harvesting projects in four rural schools impacted by a lack of piped water. They are Maldon and Chatsworth Primary Schools, in St. James; Aabuthnott Gallimore High School, in St. Ann, and the Giblatore Primary and All Age School in St. Catherine.
He adds that the RWSL has also collaborated with the Ministry of Water, Land, Environment and Climate Change to providing 700 households in the Giblatore area with roof guttering and black tanks.