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In two weeks, work will begin on the White Horses/Pamphret/Botany Bay water supply project in St. Thomas, the second project being implemented under the Rural Water Programme.
Minister of Water and Housing, Donald Buchanan, who was speaking at the contract signing ceremony held recently at his offices in Kingston, revealed that it should be completed in ten months and would involve the pumping of water from a deep well in Springfield near Morant Bay, to a 1,136, 500-litre reservoir in White Horses. A distribution system will extend from the reservoir to residents in Botany Bay, White Horses and Pamphret.
Bacchus Engineering Works Limited has been awarded the US$3.4 million ($200 million) contract to construct and initially operate the project.Of this amount, US$1.7 million will fund the construction, while US$1.7 million will go towards meeting operational costs.
“The contract involves both the construction of the water supply system and thereafter the operation by the contractor – on behalf of the community – of the system for a period up to five years,” Minister Buchanan explained.
“The arrangement is going to be that the community will own the system, but the contractor will have certain operational responsibilities. This is a new initiative, but it is very important that if we are to go forward successfully, the community, private enterprise and the state partner in the development of these rural water supply systems,” he continued.
For his part, Leonard James, President of the White Horses/Pamphret/Botany Bay Development Benevolent Society, promised that his organisation would ensure “transparency and good management” in operating the project.
The government of Jamaica, through the Ministry of Water and Housing, signed a loan agreement valued at US$8 million with the Inter-American Development Bank in February 2002 for the implementation of the Rural Water Programme. The Jamaican government is providing counterpart funding in the sum of US$2.5 million.
The project involves the planning, design and construction of small-scale water supply systems that will be managed, operated and maintained by the communities.
Four projects are to be carried out under the pilot phase of the programme, which will see more than 7,500 residents in 15 communities benefiting. The communities to benefit include Mile Gully, Warwick Castle, Gravel Hill, White Horses, Botany Bay, Pamphret, Cotterwood, Fyffes Pen, Shrewsbury, Sellington and Content. The first project started was the Five Star Water Supply System in St. Elizabeth, which is presently in construction, and which, on completion would provide water to the Cotterwood, Fyffes Pen, Shrewsbury, Sellington and Content communities.