Charles Buchanan | NWC only digs up roads if we must
I must respond to a letter to the editor ('NWC a law unto itself')published on Friday, May 18, 2018, contending that there is no coordination between the National Water Commission (NWC) and other infrastructure entities.
In the first instance, the NWC is not the agency undertaking pipe-laying works along Windward Road, which is the source of that complaint.
Notwithstanding, that pipeline upgrading work is being done precisely because of inter-agency collaboration on integrated infrastructure improvement work - the very thing we are being accused of not doing.
The letter writer is also mistaken in his assertion that I had declared what he referred to as the NWC's "public autonomy by stating that it holds no obligation to answer to anyone before it carries out work".
The public may need to also know that the pipe-laying work along the Brandon Hill main road in Montego Bay, St James - which was the subject of the television reports referred to by the letter writer - was being done with the full knowledge of, and in close collaboration with, technical officers of the St James Municipal Corporation in advance of their road-repair work - the very opposite of what we are being accused of doing.
The point I tried to make in the referenced television interview is that whereas planned pipe-laying works are done in close collaboration with road and other authorities, emergency leak repair works cannot be effective or practical if they are required to await the same lengthy consultation process.
Leaks occur every day and, if not addressed as soon as possible, not only will a lot of water go to waste, water service be disrupted to some persons, or areas flooded by wastewater, but the roadway will be unduly impacted by the unattended leak.
The NWC does not cut public roadways because we want to; we do so when we must in order to provide or maintain water and wastewater services to our valued customers.
In each case that we are forced to cut road surfaces, the NWC commits to take steps to restore the area that it has cut.
In fact, the NWC works closely with the National Works Agency (NWA). In the Corporate Area, NWC has collaborated, or is collaborating with, the NWA on road improvement works on Marcus Garvey Drive, Barbican Road, Mandela Highway, Constant Spring Road, and Hagley Park Road, among others.
Outside of Kingston and St Andrew, coordinated road and pipe-laying works have been/are being carried out from Wilton to Old Pepper and Whitehall to Newmarket in St Elizabeth, Toll Gate to Rest, and Palmers Cross to Guinep Tree in Clarendon, to name a few. The NWC is undertaking these collaborative works even in instances where we were not scheduled or had not previously secured the funding to do pipeline upgrading works.
We have also just renewed an upgraded agreement with the NWA for them to repair all road cuts made by the NWC on NWA roads, at the cost of the NWC.
Those are not the actions of an entity that is a law unto itself.
Much more is being done in relation to reducing any negative impact on our public roadways, but I hope the above addresses the public concerns and corrects the unfortunate misunderstanding.
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