Water Supply System Launched in St. Thomas


More than 750 households and 3,000 residents in St. Thomas will have access to potable water from the Whitehorses/Botany Bay/Pamphret Water Supply Scheme, which was officially launched on Thursday (January 31), on the grounds of the Old Goodyear Factory in Springfield, St Thomas.
Following the ceremony, Minister of Water and Housing, Dr. Horace Chang, Minister of State in the Ministry, Everald Warmington, and Minister without Portfolio in the Office of the Prime Minister, James Robertson opened a fire hydrant located near the Goodyear factory to demonstrate that water was in fact in the system. The project cost some $120 million and was completed in December 2007. Implemented under the Rural Water Programme of the Ministry of Water and Housing, the project will be operated and managed by members of the Whitehorses, Botany Bay and Pamphret Development Benevolent Society (WBP/DBS), an organization set up to manage the water system for the community. The WBP/DBS will ensure that all the components of the system are working, including the implementing of tariffs, fixing damaged pipes, ensuring the proper functioning of pumps, billing customers, collecting fees, making disconnections, and producing financial reports. A number of workshops have been held with the members to equip them with the skills to successfully manage the project.
During the ceremony, a plaque was presented by Minister Warmington to the Chairperson of the WBP/DBS, Leonard James, in recognition of the Society’s hardwork and dedication in making the project a reality.
“I’m so glad that this project has come to reality. I’m very grateful,” Juliet Buckley told JIS News. Meanwhile, another resident of Whitehorses recalled having to carry water from the waterfall in Rozelle to her home, because of the irregular water supply. “On many days we go to the pipe and when we turn it there is only air,” she said.
Guest speaker at the launch, Dr. Horace Chang said that the Ministry was making every effort to provide access to potable water to Jamaicans by the year 2010. Since September of last year, he said, the staff of the Rural Water Programme and a team from the Inter-American Development Bank have tendered and advertised some 12 rural water supply systems at a cost of some $125 million. “They are moving to get water out there and we expect to cover a wide cross section of Jamaica by 2010. I want to commend them,” he said. The Minister also announced three water projects, which are slated for completion this year. These are the Gravel Hill Water Supply in Clarendon, the Mile Gully/Warwick Castle Project in St Mary, and the Gilblatore Rainwater Harvesting project in St. Catherine.
Explaining how the water supply scheme will work, the Minister said water will be pumped from a well at the Goodyear Factory through a 14km pipeline to a 1.3 million litre reservoir in Healthful, Whitehorses. From there, it will be distributed through transmission mains to the Whitehorses, Botany Bay and Pamphret communities.
Dr. Chang commended the efforts of the members of the WBP/DBS and urged them to manage the entity “like a business.”
“The responsibility is in your hands to ensure that it is run properly. If you do it well you will be setting the pace for many Jamaicans, and I am confident that you can do it,” he added. The Whitehorses/Botany Bay/Pamphret water supply system is one of four similar projects funded under the Government of Jamaica/Inter-American Development Bank (GOJ/IDB) US$12.5 million loan for community-managed water supply systems.

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