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$900-m water projects for St James East Central

BY HORACE HINES
Observer West reporter

Thursday, August 02, 2018

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MONTEGO BAY, St James - Member of Parliament for St James East Central, Edmund Bartlett, and residents of the constituency are upbeat over the commencement of the first phase of a $900-million water upgrade programme in the area, which they believe will bring an end to the chronic shortage of the precious product being experienced in that section of the parish.

Speaking to reporters at a press conference in Montego Bay last week, Bartlett, who is also the Minister of Tourism, announced that the first phase of the multimillion-dollar project is scheduled for completion in a month.

“The major project to which we have spoken was the mega $900-million programme for the Canaan Water Supply System, and I am pleased to advise that the programme began two days ago with the refurbishing of one of the major wells at Canaan,” Bartlett announced.

“We expect that the first phase of the work will be completed on August 24,” Bartlett revealed, adding that the entire project is scheduled for completion in another two years.

Teisha-Ann Pinnock, community relations manager, National Water Commission (NWC) western region, told the Jamaica Observer West that communities served by the Canaan system will in the interim get piped water from the Queen of Spain Water Supply System in Wakefield, Trelawny, until the rehabilitation work is completed. Water will also be trucked to some areas, she said.

According to Pinnock, the scope of rehabilitation work, includes the cleaning of the well and redevelopment.

“Rehabilitation involves cleaning of the well and redevelopment, which really means that after cleaning the well, we will run some tests to determine what additional amount of water we can get from it. So, we are doing it with the hope to extract more water because we have noticed that there was a decline in output from the facility,” the NWC communications manager explained.

She disclosed that the communities served by the Canaan system include Adelphi, Dumfries, Goodwill, Chatham, Content, Blytheston, Somerton and Paisley.

Bartlett also said that following completion of the first phase of the programme, construction of a well at Canaan and a reservoir at Somerton, will run concurrently.

“Hopefully that will take us into the early months of 2019 for distribution to begin from Cedar Hill in Somerton, through to Orange and most of Adelphi and Goodwill and Somerton itself, Industry and Latium,” said Bartlett.

He outlined that one of his election promises was to improve the water supply in his constituency, and apart from the Canaan projects, “another area for development is the Hurlock community, near the new housing scheme at the Estuary”.

“That will facilitate expansion of the water supply system that will now give us the opportunity to keep the two tanks that are built there to keep full constantly. And the water then, will be gravity fed to the communities of Hurlock, Over River and areas around Shanty Town, and the footprints of John's Hall.”

The veteran MP also announced that the water source at Worcester will be expanded, and will provide water to John's Hall.

“We are expecting that the Appleton Spring in Orange will also be refurbished, so as to enable the Orange area, and also Sign and Irwin Heights, to have adequate water supply,” said the MP.

Canaan resident, Walford Williams, who is a retired NWC plant operator, was among several residents who told the Observer West that they welcome the move to ease the water shortage in the constituency.

“I welcome the news, it is long overdue,” said Williams, who conceded, however, that his community is not among those with chronic water shortages.

Goodwill resident Louis Hamilton, who said water “only comes into the pipe at nights”, has adopted a wait-and-see attitude.

“We just have to watch and see what is going on,” said Hamilton.

Glenis Rose, a farmer of Adelphi, welcomed the prospect of the improvements in the supply of water.

“As the saying goes 'water is life' and there is hardly anything that we can do that does not involve the use of water. As farmers, it is very essential for us to have that commodity, so that the crops that we plant can materialise. So, we welcome any help from Government that will enable the farmers to have the use of this important commodity,” said Rose.

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