Sun | Sep 19, 2021

Water woes hit MoBay, but JPS denies blame

Published:Wednesday | July 28, 2021 | 12:10 AMAdrian Frater/News Editor

WESTERN BUREAU:

Councillor Arthur Lynch of the Montego Bay South East Division is convinced that the age-old problem of state agencies not working in unison is to blame for chronic water woes affecting the St James communities he represents.

Lynch blamed the deficit of power supply to pump water to the starved neighbourhoods as the nub of the dysfunction involving the National Water Commission (NWC) and the Jamaica Public Service Company (JPS).

Communities such as Rose Heights, Rose Mount Gardens Housing Scheme, and surrounding areas have been without water for several days.

“It is clear to me that there is a major divide between the two utility companies in getting the electricity supply to the pump restored and then to pump the water into the reservoir in order that residents can have access,” Lynch told The Gleaner.

Citing the Guaranteed Service Standards that are monitored by the Office of Utilities Regulation, Lynch accused both utility providers of breaching those benchmarks with impunity.

Lynch further argued that the NWC should not escape blame, adding that the state-run company had an obligation to truck water to communities when the regular supply is disrupted.

“While both utility companies twiddle their thumbs, the residents are being made to suffer,” he said.

However, Winsome Callum, director of corporate communications and customer experience at JPS, flatly rejected responsibility for the water crisis.

“This is not a JPS problem, it is a problem that is internal to the NWC,” said Callum. “The NWC has issued a statement on the matter and they have not implicated us in any way. This is not a JPS problem.”

Several attempts to seek comment from the NWC were unsuccessful.

In a press statement, the commission blamed the problem on an electrical problem, without implicating the JPS.

“The National Water Commission wishes to apologise to customers served by the Appleton Hall system in St James and the Dornoch system in Trelawny for the disruption in their water supply due to electrical challenges at both facilities,” the statement said.