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NWC's $17b major project in full swing

Published:Friday | March 25, 2011 | 3:00 AM
A section of the Hermitage Dam. - File photos

The ongoing Jamaica Water Supply Improvement Project (JWSIP), which is divided into segments A and B, is the single largest project ever undertaken by the National Water Commission (NWC).

It has a total cost of US$211 million (approximately J$17 billion) and, on completion, will bring an additional 20 million gallons of water to residents in Kingston and St Andrew, St Catherine and other areas of Jamaica.

Corporate Public Relations Manager of the NWC Charles Buchanan made the announcement at a JIS Think Tank session on Half-Way Tree Road, St Andrew, recently.

"We are replacing the Rio Cobre pipeline, some six kilometres of which run under the Bog Walk gorge. This replacement will see us being able to provide an improved level of service to our customers and reduce the leakage and waste which occurs on the old pipeline," Buchanan said.

He explained that the Constant Spring water treatment plant, the largest in the island with a treatment capacity of 20 million gallons per day, will be rehabilitated under the JWSIP programme, as well as other similar plants.

"We are also undertaking the rehabilitation of the Seaview water treatment plant, located in Stony Hill, and the intake works for a number of the sources that supply water to the Corporate Area, including intakes connected to the Hermitage Dam and a number of other intakes which are critical to the availability of water to meet the needs of our customers in the Corporate Area," he added.

He said the JWSIP project also involves the extraction of water in the Halls Green/Temple Hall area, which will allow the NWC to supply water to residents in that area without having to rely solely on the Seaview plant.

Most ambitious

Apart from being the largest project ever undertaken by the NWC, the JWSIP is also one of the most ambitious. It will provide an additional 20 million gallons of water per day to the Corporate Area, and is intended to eliminate or eradicate water lock-offs in many affected areas.

The newly laid pipes which are replacing ducts that were laid as far back as 1968, will mean less water losses as a result of leaks, according to NWC's Chief Project Manager Gary Walters.

The additional water will also mean that housing and other developments can take place in areas which previously had no dependable water supplies. These include Hellshire and Caymanas in St Catherine.