Latest News

Ashton Community gets Potable Water

Jamaica Gleaner Article


Residents of Ashton in eastern Westmoreland have welcomed the re-commissioning of the 50,000-gallon Ashton Catchment Tank, pointing to its overall value to several neighboring communities.

Notary public Jerome Darnels, one of the over 1,000 residents in the community, is hoping that it will be properly maintained so that the service will be long-lasting.

“It is beneficial that people have access to potable water. It is long overdue, and we just want to make sure that it is properly maintained, including (having) regular checks made to the facility to test the quality of the water,” Darnels told The Gleaner.

The Ashton Catchment Tank, which was out of service for several years, denying residents of Ashton, Dundee, and Ridge Mountain, a consistent supply of potable water, was recently restored at a cost of $10 million by the Rural Water Supply Company (RWSC). It was re-commissioned into service last week by Local Government Minister Desmond McKenzie.

“We committed to the residents in the area that we would move as quickly as possible to correct that situation. We are very proud of the contribution of Rural Water. They have brought a certain level of professionalism and I can tell you that we can rely on Rural Water to deliver,” said McKenzie.

Audley Thompson, managing director of RWSC, said that with the re-commissioning of the tank, residents will now be provided with potable water through a set of standpipes.

“We did the necessary refurbishment and what was critical is that we laid approximately two kilometres of pipes and put in nine standpipes, so residents don’t have to walk all the distance to come up and get water. We are key on rural development, and we are one company that will ensure that most of rural Jamaica gets water.”

He gave further assurance that other communities across rural Jamaica which are without access to water from the National Water Commission (NWC) are also slated to benefit from similar projects.

“We are going to be expanding the role of Rural Water across the country in communities where there is no connectivity to the National Water Commission, and we must understand that it is not everywhere the NWC will go, but Rural Water can go, and will go.”

Fifty-six-year-old Desmond Vaccianna, who has been the caretaker at the catchment tank for over 25 years, expressed his relief that persons can now access potable water from the newly installed standpipe network.

“Having standpipes in the community is awesome … as it allows more people to access potable water closer to their homes,” said Vaccianna.

“I will make sure the facility remains clear of foreign matter and that it is properly treated with chlorine so that we can all enjoy clean-quality water.”