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Approximately 9,000 residents of communities in Western Westmoreland are to benefit from improved access to potable water under the Nonpareil Water Supply Mains Replacement and Upgrading Project.

The project, which is slated to cost $445 million, will be undertaken over 18 months from May 2013 to November 2014.

The beneficiary communities include: Nonpariel, Sheffield, Negril Spots, Hopewell, Retirement, Orange Hill, Little London, Mount Airy, Good Hope, Revival, Little Bay, Retreat, Brighton and Whitehall.

The project will involve the replacement of the existing transmission and distribution mains from Sheffield to Little London; Sheffield to the Nonpareil Relift Station; Negril Lighthouse to Orange Hill; Mount Airy to Good Hope and Whitehall; and from the Mount Airy Tank to Orange Hill.

Minister of Water, Land, Environment and Climate Change, Hon. Robert Pickersgill, on Friday, April 26, signed a contract for the Negril Lighthouse to Orange Hill component of the project, at his offices in New Kingston. Two additional pipeline contracts, as well as contracts for pump stations and reservoirs, are left to be signed.

Minister Pickergill said the project is of “significant importance” as the residents of the targeted communities are experiencing severe problems with low water pressure and intermittent supply. “This is due to constant leakage along the antiquated pipeline,” he noted.

The Minister informed that the project is expected to reduce Non-Revenue Water (NRW), which is water lost primarily through leaks and unauthorised connections to the system, by 50 per cent.

Minister Pickersgill said the National Water Commission (NWC) should see returns of $62.8 million on an annual basis, due primarily to the reduction in NRW in the area and increased energy efficiencies.

Member of Parliament for the area, and Minister of Tourism and Entertainment, Dr. the Hon. Wykeham McNeill, expressed gratitude for the works to be done, noting that the residents are appreciative.

Specific deliverables under the project include: the installation of two storage tanks at Mount Airy and Revival, which will provide a combined storage capacity of 4.3 million litres of water; the supply and installation of a Booster/Relift Station at Whitehall and Retirement; and the supply and installation of strategically located Pressure Reducing Stations on the distribution mains.

The Nonpariel system is currently served by three branches of the Lucea/Negril Water Supply System. The project will be undertaken by the NWC, via Contractor, D. R Foote Construction Company.

The Nonpareil Water Supply Mains Replacement and Upgrading Project is one of six rural water supply projects, which will be undertaken under the NWC’s K-Factor Programme in the parishes of Westmoreland, St. Elizabeth, Clarendon, St. Mary and Hanover.

These projects will be implemented at a collective cost of $1.8 billion.

By Chris Patterson, JIS Reporter