NWC to improve and expand Jamaica’s water supplies

Jamaica’s National Water Commission (NWC) will be improving and expanding water supply services across the island, under the Kingston Metropolitan Area (KMA) Water Supply Improvement Programme.

The programme, which is divided into four components, is being funded by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).

Speaking at the official launch at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel in Kingston recently, Minister of Water, Land, Environment and Climate Change, Hon. Robert Pickersgill, said the project represents the largest IDB investment in Jamaica.

“These series of projects being funded by the IDB include the US$138 million Kingston Metropolitan Programme for which the IDB is providing loan funds to the value of US$133 million,” he said.

Mr. Pickersgill said the broad objective of the KMA programme is to improve efficiency, quality and sustainability of the potable water services provided in the Kingston Metropolitan area, and to increase access in selected urban centres of the island.

“Specifically, the programme will optimise water infrastructure performance, reduce non-revenue water levels and strengthen NWC’s performance in terms of operation and maintenance practices,” he said.

Providing details on component one of the programme, Mr. Pickersgill said it involves rehabilitation of the potable water supply of the KMA at a cost of US$84 million.

“This component will finance the completion of the works designed under a previous IDB loan for the Kingston water and sanitation project. This includes the rehabilitation of selected water treatment and production facilities, and reduction of commercial and physical losses as part of the non-revenue water in Kingston and St. Andrew,” he said.

He noted that this component will also fund the rehabilitation of the water supply network for the Forest Hills/Red Hills area and the construction of a new pipeline to address the deficit in supply.

The Minister said an aquifer recharge system designed to sustain the water resource capacity in western Spanish Town will also be constructed.

Another component will be the upgrading of water supply systems for urban centres at a cost of US$20 million.

“In recognition of the fact that water supply challenges exist in other areas of the country, this component includes rehabilitation and water supply improvement works in Old Harbour, St. Catherine, May Pen, Clarendon and Mandeville,” he said, adding that it will involve the design, construction and modification of the water production, treatment and distribution system for these townships.

Mr. Pickersgill informed that under the Energy Efficiency Improvement Component, some US$10.1 million is being provided. “This component will finance the replacement or rehabilitation of selected water production facilities, such as pumps, lift stations, reservoirs… as well as other operating measures to improve energy management at the NWC and to reduce monthly electricity bills to the organisation,” he said.

The fourth component deals with the institutional strengthening of the NWC at a cost of US$3.5 million to enable better service delivery. “This component will target the change management process required to facilitate the shift of the operational culture of the NWC to assure adequate corporate planning and improved performance of all its employees,” the Minister said.

Mr. Pickersgill informed that the KMA Water Supply Improvement Programme is projected for implementation over a five-year period, with completion expected in 2016.                   

By Chris Patterson,
JIS Reporter