Tue | May 21, 2019

Letter of the Day | NWC is committed to Mandeville as well as all Jamaica

Published:Thursday | February 21, 2019 | 12:08 AM

THE EDITOR, Sir:

The National Water Com-mission (NWC) appreciates the fact that Mandeville resident Daniel Lewis read the article titled ‘NWC committed to meeting Jamaica’s water needs’ from our president, Mr Mark Barnett, published in The Sunday Gleaner of February 17, 2019, and took the time to write a letter to the editor.

We must, however, correct some errors in Daniel Lewis’ letter. In the first instance, the list of projects in the article is not exhaustive, but merely a small sample of the capital-intensive initiatives undertaken and planned by the NWC. Space would not allow us to list all the projects we have done and are planning.

Suffice it to say that in relation to Mandeville, the NWC has just recently spent US$2 million to procure and install new pumps and motors for Gutters and Spur Tree as well as undertaken renewable energy-efficiency work for the Gutters, Spur Tree, and Comfort pumping stations and the Kingsland reservoir.

We are also working on:

Greater Mandeville NRW reduction programme and network optimisation, estimated to cost US$30 million.

Central wastewater treat-ment infrastructure for Greater Mandeville.

MOU with NHT for source development, NRW reduction, and distribution network improvement/upgrade at a cost of approximately US$17 million.

In respect of the current water-supply situation in Mandeville, it is to be noted that Mandeville is the most elevated large township in Jamaica and the English-speaking Caribbean that is supplied with water from miles away. Mandeville’s water is pumped in series either from over the St Elizabeth border at Pepper or near the Clarendon border at Porus.

Despite the fact that the cost of supplying Mandeville far exceeds the rates charged, NWC is demonstrably committed to supplying the township with the best possible water supply. While the service is not what we desire it to be – and the improvements are under way – the description of the customer with regard to DeCarteret Road is not consistent with our confirmed supply arrangements. (Our checks have since revealed that on-property issues have compounded the wrong perceptions of the customer. We have since recommended that they make appropriate adjustments.)

For the record, the NWC’s $6.6 billion 2018-2019 budget now being expended is 55 per cent focused on urban areas and 45 per cent targeted to benefit rural communities. This is nearly the same as the urban-to-rural-distribution ratio of Jamaica’s population. Our commitment to rural water development is so despite the fact that the various municipal corporations also have significant water responsibilities in rural areas, and there is a government-owned Rural Water Supply Limited charged with developing water-supply solutions specifically for rural areas.

We remain resolutely committed to the best possible potable water and wastewater service for Jamaica.

Charles Buchanan

Corporate Public Relations

Manager

National Water Commission