JIS News

Since the Government came to office on September 11, the Ministry of Water and Housing has been focusing on improving domestic water supply, upgrading sewage systems and assisting with the provision of shelter for persons who were affected by the onslaught of Hurricane Dean in August.
In November, Minister of Water and Housing, Dr. Horace Chang, announced that the government would be undertaking a major overhaul of sewage lines in the Kingston Metropolitan Area (KMA) and areas of St. Catherine, with first-phase work to begin after the commissioning of the Soapberry wastewater treatment plant next January.
The Minister, who was speaking following a tour of the plant in St. Catherine, informed that the project is aimed at reducing the amount of sewage going into the underground water pools and the Kingston Harbour. Work also commenced in November, on the US$17 million Martha Brae/Runaway Bay Water Supply Expansion and Rehabilitation Project, which will serve sections of Trelawny and St. Ann.
The project, which is being implemented by the National Water Commission (NWC) under its transformation and modernization plan, includes the construction of a 500,000-gallon tank above Rio Bueno and some 23 kilometres of transmission and distribution lines extending from Braco to Runaway Bay.
In his remarks at the groundbreaking ceremony, Dr. Chang noted that “all the relevant agencies and authorities, including Cabinet, have given approval for this project to be undertaken as a variation to the existing North Western Parishes Water Supply Improvement Project, thereby realizing significant savings in time and money.”
The government will be spending millions of dollars to undertake major improvement works on a number of NWC-operated systems in western Portland, to improve service to residents.
Minister of State for Water and Housing, Everald Warmington, during a tour of the water projects in November, said that $72 million would be spent to upgrade the Fruitful Vale and Dunbar/Warsaw systems; $64 million for the Lancaster system; and $43 million for the Mount Pleasant system.
He also informed that the government is examining a proposal for the detailed development of the Swift River system.
In addition to these projects, the NWC will be carrying out repairs to the Buff Bay and the Windsor Castle supply systems, Mr. Warmington noted.
According to the State Minister, once the upgrading and improvement works are completed, most communities in Western Portland will be provided with an adequate supply of water.
In the meantime, several persons, whose houses were destroyed during the passage of Hurricane Dean, began receiving assistance from the Government under the Housing Reconstruction Programme in early November.
While speaking at a weekly post-Cabinet press briefing, Minister Chang explained that the programme is expected to cost the government some $1 billion during the fiscal year and would involve the relocation of persons who are living in flood-prone areas, and would also cover the reconstruction of houses.