Thu | Aug 17, 2017

$100 billion needed to solve Jamaica's water woes

Published:Tuesday | April 19, 2016 | 4:00 AM
Robert Pickersgill, minister of water, uses a tractor to break ground in a ceremony at the Martha Brae Water Treatment Plant, in Trelawny, last year.

In its recently released future-plans document, the National Water Commission (NWC) has noted that in 2010 and 2011, much of the agency's time was spent planning and preparing for the implementation of a transformative programme over the next five to 10 years as part of its Vision 2030 plan.

According to the commission, the plan includes "the implementation of a wide-ranging series of improvement projects to the tune of an estimated $100 billion for water supply and a further $75 billion for wastewater".

plan

"The plan is aimed at moving Jamaica's direct house-to-house water supply coverage from 73 per cent of households to 85 per cent, boosting efficiency and service reliability and other parameters that would enable the NWC to boast of achieving its ambitious vision of becoming the number-one water services utility in the Caribbean and Latin America in terms of coverage, customer satisfaction, reliability, efficiency compliance and viability," the agency stated.

"Under the planned programme, which includes the Jamaica Water Supply Improvement project and other projects already under way, major work would be undertaken in every parish in keeping with the specific details of the assessed water-supply deficits," the document added.

Focus

Among the key areas of focus for the $100-billion islandwide water-improvement project are the following: the refurbishing/upgrading of water-production sources; water treatment plants rehabilitation; replacement of pipelines; well rehabilitation; pumping equipment rehabilitation; pressure zoning and increased pressure management; supply extension; detailed inspection; providing water to areas not now served; and providing 85 per cent of households with coverage.

Vision 2030, Jamaica's National Sustainable Development Plan (JNSDP), states that there is "inadequate storage capacity in many parishes to increase the reliable yield and to ensure that there are sufficient supplies of water during the dry season."

The JNSDP document also noted that while sufficient water exists on the island to meet all water demands, the water resources are not necessarily located close to the major centres of water demand.

It further said the infrastructure to move the water to the areas where it is needed is absent or inadequate in some parts of the country.