JIS News

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  • Minister of Water, Land, Environment and Climate Change, Hon. Robert Pickersgill, says he will shortly sign off on a US$42 million project to deal with the issue of non-revenue water.
  • Mr. Pickersgill argued that reducing non-revenue loss will go a far way in solving the water shortage currently facing the country.
  • As part of long-term plans to alleviate water shortage problems, Mr. Pickersgill noted that the NWC is also looking at restoring the 14 or 15 wells located in the Corporate Area.

Minister of Water, Land, Environment and Climate Change, Hon. Robert Pickersgill, says he will shortly sign off on a US$42 million project to deal with the issue of non-revenue water.

This refers to water produced by the National Water Commission (NWC), which cannot be accounted for, whether through theft or leakage.

Minister Pickersgill said that for the first six months of the project the contractors will seek to identify exactly where the problem lies.

“Thereafter, whatever they tell us they are going to do, it will be judged on a monthly basis and payment will be based on that,” he told journalists today (July 3), during a tour of the Mona Reservoir in St. Andrew.

Mr. Pickersgill argued that reducing non-revenue loss will go a far way in solving the water shortage currently facing the country.

He said that one of the immediate measures being undertaken by the Government to address the water problem, is de-silting the Hermitage Dam in St. Andrew, which is 60 per cent silted, noting that only about 37 per cent of its capacity is available.

While admitting that the de-silting process should have started long ago, the Minister noted that it had to be ensured that the integrity was there at the dam to receive the rated capacity of the water, “before you spend all this money to de-silt”.

“I know there are at least two big companies that say they can do it and part of the problem is where we would store the silt, but the good news is that the silt is a valuable sought after resource and…as soon as possible, the de-silting process will start,” the Minister said.

This work will provide another 200 million gallons of water, which is 25 to 30 days extra of additional storage.

As part of long-term plans to alleviate water shortage problems, Mr. Pickersgill noted that the NWC is also looking at restoring the 14 or 15 wells located in the Corporate Area.

In the meantime, Regional Water Supply and Distribution Manager at the NWC, Keon Hinds, noted that the Mona Reservoir, which has the capacity to hold 800 million gallons of water, is now down to 280 million gallons.

“The flow into the plant now from Yallahs (River) is six million gallons…we are getting nothing from Hope (River) and Hope is the one that actually raises the dam. With nothing from Hope and the six million from Yallahs, we are in a serious state,” he said.

He pointed out that at the current drop in levels, which is seven million gallons per day, the Reservoir only has about six weeks supply of water.

Mr. Hinds said the NWC is hoping to cut the seven million a day to two million, through the implementation of new water restrictions measures.

“We are hoping that with the regulations, we will have the supply lasting us until the next rainy season which is September,” he said.

The global prediction is for 2014 to be the hottest year on record based on a weather phenomenon known as El Nino, as well as climate change.

The El Nino phenomenon is characterised by unusually warm ocean temperatures in the central eastern pacific regions, which have a major impact on the climate around the world.

During El Nino, the Caribbean, including Jamaica, is predicted to be warmer and drier.  Scientists have predicted that there is an 80 per cent chance that effects of El Nino will continue during the months September to December and beyond.