5,000 more get running water
Approximately nine years after construction started on a water-distribution system in Hanover Eastern, it was finally commissioned into service on Saturday, with Prime Minister Andrew Holness doing the honours.
A total of 5,000 residents from the districts of Claremont, Jericho, Cascade, Retrieve, and Pondside will now have access to potable water in their homes.
The National Water Commission (NWC) project, valued at more than J$400 million, will route water from the Great River Treatment Facility to the Paradise Pumping Station. Water will then be distributed, through a six-inch pipeline, from the Paradise Pumping Station to a storage facility in German Hill.
“Then, you gravity-feed by a four-inch pipeline from the German Hill facility to the Retrieve Pumping Station, then we pump from Retrieve Pumping Station up to a storage tank in Cascade, and that tank will gravity-feed all the way back to Pondside,” a member of the NWC technical team, who requested anonymity, told The Gleaner.
Despite the commissioning of the system, The Gleaner has been informed that the first phase of the project, from Claremont to Jericho, is now being sterilised and is expected to be ratified by the NWC laboratory by Friday, August 14, after which the residents of those two districts will be able to access water.
“The other section of the system, Retrieve to Cascade to Pondside, the pump at Retrieve is just now being installed, so as soon as that is installed, we will be able to pump from Retrieve to Cascade and sort out that part of the system; and by the end of September, we intend to complete the whole system,” the NWC technician said.
Two storage tanks, one with a capacity of 100,000 gallons and the other, 250,000 gallons, have been constructed at German Hill and Cascade, respectively. The system is designed to accommodate a 30-year population growth, The Gleaner has learnt.
Scepticism was evident during interviews with the residents, with some believing that the fanfare behind the gifting of an incomplete water system was timed to coincide with the campaign for a general election.
“We a go glad fi di water when we do get it, because the suffering for water will end, but if it cut off as soon as de election gone, I would not be surprised,” one resident said.
Another resident stated: “Dem can tan deh think dem can ketch me. Make dem ketch other people, but me nah go vote fi nobody because a dis. Why dem neva come before now?”
Dave Brown, member of parliament for Hanover Eastern, the constituency in which the project falls, told The Gleaner that he understands the public’s cynicism because residents have waited so long.
“I am extremely satisfied that I have made my input in it. I have fought tooth and nail to get some funding for the project and for its completion,” he said.
He pleaded for the residents to take care of the facility and not to tamper with the fixtures.
Holness, in his presentation at the commissioning ceremony, argued that the matter of water must never be politicised.
“There are communities in areas that support the Government and areas that don’t support the Government that are in need of water, and we do not choose where we make our investment in water by how people vote,” said Holness.
“That must never be the case, and every single Jamaican can be assured that the Government is making the investment in water according to strategic priorities.”