Wed | May 27, 2020

Letter of the Day | NWC has comprehensive plan to make water available

Published:Thursday | April 9, 2020 | 12:10 AM

THE EDITOR, Madam:

The National Water Commission (NWC) writes in response to an article that appeared in your newspaper on page 1 on Friday, April 3 with the caption, ‘COVID water woe’.

As a relevant starting point, it’s important to state that the NWC understands the need and importance for potable water, especially at this time as it is a vital commodity for the sustenance of life and the carrying out of everyday activities. We therefore empathise with those who have problems accessing potable water and we are diligently working to provide access to supplies.

As it relates to COVID-19, from a national perspective, the NWC has instituted a comprehensive plan of action to ensure that water is available on a consistent and timely basis to deal with emergencies and other demands that are caused by the onset of the virus in Jamaica. This focused and strategic plan, which has been in effect since the second week of March, involves, among other things: a strategic schedule that targets certain communities and institutions for the trucking of water; an increase in the number of loading bays for the collection and distribution of water by truckers; and an increase in the number trucks and truckers to boost delivery throughout the island.

ONLINE RESPONSE

On a broader perspective, we are mindful that Jamaicans will have many questions associated with the availability of water at this time, therefore, we have ramped up our online response system to have customer service agents address queries. Although our commercial offices are closed to the public in keeping with public health guidelines, the number for these offices can still be called for concerns to be dealt with. The range of services that is available online has also significantly improved. These include the ability to apply online for new services.

Now, with respect to the issues relating to Portland Cottage that were raised in the article, daily trucking has been taking place in the area during scheduled lock-offs. The schedule is as follows for the trucking of water: Portland Cottage and Rocky Point – Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Monday; and Mitchell Town Sunday, Tuesday and Wednesday. Trucking is also done to some of these areas on their non-scheduled days, on request, to offset the need of any resident who runs out of water. Our records show that on the request of the member of parliament, water was trucked to the Portland Cottage and Salt River communities on Sunday, March 29. We also erected a new loading bay at the New Town pumping station to effectively reduce the time period between the collecting and the delivering of water to residents.

Additionally, we have made necessary adjustments within the distribution network for our improved mode of delivery.

The commission has been working assiduously to identify and correct any gaps within the distribution. Even as that is taking place, there has been the installation of 120 lengths of PVC pipes to improve supply in the Rocky Point/Portland Cottage area, which will soon be commissioned.

Residents should also be mindful that work is ongoing to upgrade the supply systems to serve Portland Cottage, Mitchell Town and Rocky Point. The following is also taking place: repairing and replacing of old distribution mains; we have recently developed a new well at Kemps Hill; and installed a new deep well pump at New Town - all aimed to deliver more water to the communities. Our work continues, which will involve upgrading the relift stations at both the New Town and Kemp’s Hill deep well sites. These infrastructural improvement works are all being done in an effort to increase the output to our customers in the area.

We encourage all Jamaicans to keep safe and follow the guidelines of the Ministry of Health and Wellness and other medical officials. The NWC will be serving you, our valued customers, throughout this challenging and difficult period and beyond.

MARK BARNETT

President of the NWC