Greater Mandeville water improvement project underway
Residents of Manchester central could begin to see an improvement in their water supply in coming months, following the completion of a water system project in the sections of the parish where the demand is highest.
Minister without portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, Matthew Samuda, who toured reservoirs in Gutters and Kingsland, Manchester and the pump and well sites in St Elizabeth on Thursday, said the development of new wells and the improvement of the pumping station in Pepper, St Elizabeth has already started at a cost of $680 million.
The Pepper well, which remains the main source of water for Mandeville, among other communities, had been in a state of disrepair for years, with the aged infrastructure no longer providing a consistent and sufficient supply to the growing population.
As part of the Greater Mandeville Water Improvement Project, a main line that runs for 2.5 kilometres from the Hopeton to the Waltham districts, is now being replaced.
“It is a 16-inch ductile iron cement lined pipeline. Just the work, the physical work and labour will cost some $84 million outside of the pipeline work. But what we are showing to the community of Mandeville and all the communities along this major pipeline is that we are investing in the future of their water supply,” Samuda stated.
With some National Water Commission (NWC) customers fast becoming agitated with the inconsistent supply of water, and even expressing plans to boycott the system if nothing changes soon, Samuda revealed that a significant improvement in the reliability of the system is expected.
Other issues which will be addressed are: water sourcing and storage, pumping capacity, the use of solar energy to minimise pumping costs, and the power that will now be expended for adequate supply.
“We are also ensuring that the distribution network in all communities is upgraded in line with this new water supply which will be coming. There are a number of factors which we expect to come together over the next two years and, by the time we complete all the work within the greater Mandeville area, some $4 billion dollars would have been invested. So we do ask for patience as we continue the work …” Samuda said.
NWC Regional Manager Jermaine Jackson said the development along the Hopeton road and the once poorly supplied area of Waltham to Perth Road has seen an improvement following the installation of 10-inch pipes. More than 200 new customers have now been added to the system.
With continued plans to improve water supply systems across the parish, Member of Parliament Rhoda Crawford said that several other communities continue to benefit from the efforts of the NWC.
“… Quite a number of pipelines have been replaced. There are two communities: Wilbin in Grey Ground and Church Street in Knockpatrick, where, for the first time in history, residents now have running water …. So this is a major investment and one that is also providing employment opportunities for residents ….”
Samuda said that while the Government continues to monitor the drought across the island as climate change compounds the issue, the feasibility of access to additional wells will continue to be explored.