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Billion-Dollar Water System In St Catherine

A JIS NEWS ARTICLE

The Government is examining the feasibility of replicating the underground water recharge system to Manchester and St. Elizabeth, in similar fashion to the system at Innswood, St. Catherine.

Making the disclosure following a tour of the system in St. Catherine, yesterday, Wednesday (March 16), Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Hon. Desmond McKenzie, said the two parishes account for a “significant portion” of foods produced across the island, and water is critical for production.

“Water is critical, and forms part of the government agenda… and St. Catherine possesses the capacity to provide water,” the Minister said.

The St. Catherine facility is situated on 68 acres of land located at Innswood, and its main function is to divert approximately five million gallons of water per day from the Rio Cobre River through the National Irrigation Commission (NIC) Canal during the wet season.

After the water is extracted from the canal, it is settled and injected into limestone wells to recharge the limestone aquifer, and to replenish the abstractions from wells into the Portmore/Bernard Lodge area.

The system was built at a cost of $1.1 billion with financing from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and is operated by the Rural Water Supply Limited (RWSL). Mr. McKenzie said he had an “eye opener” that Jamaica can generate the water that is needed, but it must be done in a structured manner.

He further said the ministry’s technical team will be engaged to see “how best” the system can be expanded, and that he will use his upcoming Sectoral Budget Debate in April to outline the “join up” approach that the Government is taking to expand water systems across the island.

“It is a commitment that we made in 2016 and have been fulfilling, and we will continue to fulfil, because if you want to grow and stimulate employment, then water has to be a driving force,” the Minister said.

Aberdeen Residents Get New Hybrid Pumping Station

Jamaica Observer Article:

 

MORE than 1,600 residents in Aberdeen, St Elizabeth, are now set to benefit from the development of a new state-of-the-art water pumping station.

Work for the facility was executed by Rural Water Supply Limited and is set to provide residents with more than 80,000 gallons of potable water on a daily basis.

Minister of Local Government and Rural Development Desmond McKenzie, who commissioned the new station, called the development a “first”.

“This is a historical day because it is the first hybrid and largest solar pumping station in the country. This is a first so it has significance, and a community of over sixteen hundred persons and its environs will benefit significantly from this,” Minister McKenzie said.

 

The $110-million project saw the construction of the pumping station being inclusive of solar power generation that works in conjunction with power from the country’s main utility provider, JPS; two storage tanks with a combined capacity of 50,000 gallons; and the installation of new distribution and transmission pipelines.

 

The pumping station, which will be managed by National Water Commission, was welcomed by residents who braved the rain to watch the ceremonial opening of the facility. They shared that prior to this development they would have to depend on the rain or buy water from trucks.

“I think it’s a good thing and I’m very grateful for it, for the water. Yeah, we are grateful and glad for it,” said Taskia Martin.

McKenzie urged the residents and the municipal corporation to protect the investment.

“This project must be protected for the benefit of the people because the people have suffered for too long,” he said.

He also urged residents to pay their bills, highlighting that the water isn’t free and its provision comes at a cost.

Meanwhile, Member of Parliament for St Elizabeth North Eastern, Delroy Slowley declared that he will be providing the first 50 applicants for the service with half of their connection fee.

 

“In making sure that a number of persons get on the system, what I have done on my own initiative is to offer 50 per cent partnership with the first 50 persons that connect to the system, because we really want to encourage persons to connect properly. This is a huge outlay of capital cost and we have to have proper return on investment,” the MP said.

 

After the 2020 General Election Rural Water Supply Limited was placed under the purview of the local government ministry, and McKenzie shared that there is more work to come.

“This project is an important one. The component of the work that is scheduled for this year under rural development will total over some $325 million that has been allocated to bring water to six parishes — St Catherine, St Ann, Clarendon, St Elizabeth, Portland, and St James,” he said.

This, he explained, forms part of a greater plan to provide water to the 27 per cent of Jamaicans who still have no access to the commodity.

Rural Water Supply Limited Commended For Project At Springfield Primary School

Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Hon. Desmond McKenzie, has commended Rural Water Supply Limited (RWSL) for their rainwater-harvesting project, which was recently implemented at the Springfield Primary and Infant School in St. Elizabeth.

After a tour of the institution recently, Mr. McKenzie told journalists that “water harvesting has been a feature of the Ministry since 2016 and RWSL coming into the Ministry has strengthened the capacity of the Ministry to deliver”.

“They are a bunch of professionals, seasoned professionals, who have brought a level of performance to the Ministry of Local Government. They have lifted the standard in terms of service delivery, and I am looking forward to working with them right across Jamaica to take projects such as this and many more to communities across the country that are in need of water,” he said.

Mr. McKenzie further noted that RWSL is an important component of the Government’s response to communities across Jamaica with limited access to adequate potable water.

The Minister stated that the water harvesting project at the school will ensure that students attend more consistently.

“We are not just working in communities but we are in schools, and it is good to know that the introduction of water harvesting in this school will allow a consistent stream of attendance by the students,” he said.

The project, which was undertaken last year by the RWSL, includes the installation of five tanks at Springfield Primary, two 1,000-gallon tanks, two 800-gallon tanks and one 15,000-gallon concrete tank.

Mr. McKenzie said there is no doubt that the investment will be protected, as the school is in great condition.

For his part, Mayor of Black River, Councillor Derrick Sangster, thanked the Ministry and RWSL for the project’s implementation.

“What the RWSL has done is to make it possible that this institution will always have available to them a collection of clean potable water, so that the health of the children here can be protected, and they will all be able to exist in a clean and healthy environment,” Councillor Sangster said.

Managing Director of RWSL, Audley Thompson, noted that “it is a pleasure for RWSL to have participated in something like this”.

“This is something that we do all over the island. To date, we have placed about 60 of these [projects] all over the island,” he noted.

Principal of Springfield Primary and Infant School, Winsome Coke, said she is “elated” with the project, and thanked RWSL for their execution of the project at the school.

The initiative will benefit some 162 students and staff at the institution.

-JIS News

Little Bay Primary and Infant School

A laundromat is to be established at Little Bay Primary and Infant School in Westmoreland to assist students in washing their uniforms and other articles of clothing.

This is being done against the background of water challenges impacting the community.

Principal, Keron King, told JIS News that the facility is being funded by longstanding donor partner, the UZAZI Foundation, which is based in Canada.

The facility is to be housed in the school’s reading room and will be provided with water from a 20,000-gallon tank that was recently installed at the institution by Rural Water Supply Limited (RWSL).

“We realised that there is no running water [in the community], and sometimes the children will complain about not getting their uniforms washed on time. So, as part of caring for our students and looking at things from a holistic point of view, we [decided] to set up a laundromat so the children can take their uniforms in, get them washed and ironed, and get their regular clothes washed here as well,” King informed.

 

He thanked the UZAZI Foundation for funding the laundromat’s establishment, noting that this is expected to aid in significantly building the students’ self-esteem.

“The washing machine and dryer are on their way to Jamaica; in a matter of weeks, they are going to be here. So, [for that] we are very thankful and appreciative,” he added.

King said the students and parents are “very excited” about the laundromat, noting they have queried whether the facility’s use can be extended to the wider community.

“We are looking at, first of all, serving our own children, and beyond that, we will [seek to] extend [the gesture] to the community,” he indicated.

The principal also expressed gratitude to RWSL for installing the tank, noting that as it has cut the institution’s water budget by approximately 90 percent.

King pointed out that the tank also enables the school to provide the children with drinking water and cater to the youngsters’ other needs.

He said it is anticipated that the tank will also serve to assist to the rest of the community, “in the event that we have a crisis.”

In their quest to become self-sufficient, the school has installed a generator-powered irrigation system that helps to water the institution’s garden and supply some areas of the campus with the amenity.

The garden supplies produces such as callaloo, pak choi and pumpkin, for the cafeteria which, coupled with chickens reared for eggs and poultry meat, supplements the breakfast programme.

Approximately 80 percent of the students benefit from the programme when school is in session.

King emphasised that the school continues to take the holistic development of its students seriously, as it continues its thrust to ensure that “all the needs of our students are catered to.”

– JIS News

 

Artificial Underground Recharge System Tour

JIS News

State Minister in the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development, Hon. Homer Davis, says a plan is being looked at to establish an underground water recharge system in Clarendon.

The State Minister, who toured the Rural Water Supply Limited (RWSL) Artificial Underground Recharge System in Innswood, St. Catherine, on July 13, said the system will boost supply of the commodity in Clarendon.

“This is a very successful project, and we are looking at Clarendon to see if such a system can be replicated there,” Mr. Davis told journalists.

“It is a very potent project, serving a wide area, and it is part of a national policy to enhance the quality of life for people,” he added.

The St. Catherine facility is situated on 68 acres of land, and its main function is to divert approximately five million gallons of water per day from the Rio Cobre river through the National Irrigation Commission (NIC) canal during the wet season.

After the water is extracted from the canal, it is settled and injected into limestone wells to recharge the limestone aquifer, and to replenish the abstractions from wells in the Portmore/Bernard Lodge area.

“It is important that we have these wells being recharged, to ensure easy access to potable water, and we are also encouraging citizens to have the necessary storage capacity to deal with rainwater harvesting. We have to look at various measures to put us in a better position,” he said.

The system was built at a cost of $1.1 billion, with financing from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).

The State Minister lauded the RWSL team for their management of the system.

Meanwhile, Mr. Davis said there are springs across the island that never go dry, and “we are looking at these springs, doing the measurement, in consultation with the WRA (Water Resources Authority), to see how much we can extract from these systems to benefit the people”.

Government Launches Water Monitoring Initiative In Schools

Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, Senator the Hon. Pearnel Charles Jr. (left), pins Water Monitor at the Rock Hall All Age School, Alecia Waugh (2nd right), at the launch of a water monitoring initiative, called ‘Water IQ Initiative’, or ‘WiQi’, at the St. Andrew West Rural educational institution. Shanakaye Morgan (rght), and other Monitors observe.

To advance the culture of water conservation, the Government has launched a water monitoring initiative among primary and high school students.

Under the programme, called ‘Water IQ Initiative’, or ‘WiQi’, the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, Rural Water Supply Limited (RWSL), National Water Commission (NWC), and the Water Resources Authority (WRA), are collaborating with 11 schools initially, that have been retrofitted with water harvesting systems.

The programme will eventually reach 200 schools to foster sustainability of the initiative, with the assignment of at least 12 monitors in each institution, aided by a teacher or the administrative staff. All the monitors will be trained by the agencies.

“The role of the Water Monitors and the Coordinator will be to ensure that the school continues to develop proper water conservation strategies among the entire student body, while simultaneously developing initiatives to raise awareness within the school,” Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry, Senator the Hon. Pearnel Charles Jr., said at the recent launch of the programme, at the Rock Hall All Age School, in St. Andrew.

He explained that ‘WiQi’, which is supported by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information, is targeting schools, as they are “critical” in the society for the moulding of the minds.”

The Minister said that schools are among the largest consumers of water, and if “we are to change behaviour in a sustainable way, we must start with our children.”

According to Senator Charles Jr., the programme is seeking to “activate” children for a good cause, not just when they are at school, but also in their homes, to build a firm platform for “water security.”

“The children have a huge responsibility, not just for their school, but for their homes and for the future of our country. If change is to come, it must be preceded by a change in our overall mindset, to ensure that the world that our children are to inherit will be one without the problems that we face today,” the Minister said.

Senator Charles Jr. said the initiative will allow teachers and students to be standard bearers, as the Government is ensuring that as it puts in water infrastructure, promotion is done to encourage behaviour change in the schools, in the home, and across communities.

Meanwhile, Principal of the Rock Hall All Age School, Paula Plummer, told JIS News that the programme “is awesome, as it will help students with their leadership skills, and their own sense of purpose and importance.”

Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, Senator the Hon. Pearnel Charles Jr. (4th left, back row), with the St. Andrew West Rural based Rock Hall All Age School Water Monitors, at the launch of the programme, called ‘Water IQ Initiative’, or ‘WiQi’, at the school, recently. Also with the Monitors (from left, back row) are: Managing Director of the Rural Water Supply Limited (RWSL), Audley Thompson; Principal of the school, Paula Plummer; Member of Parliament for West Rural St. Andrew, Juliet Cuthbert-Flynn; Chairman of the RWSL, Councillor Homer Davis, who is also Mayor of Montego Bay; Education Officer at the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information, Latoya Johnson; and Managing Director of the Water Resources Authority (WRA), Peter Clarke.
Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, Senator the Hon. Pearnel Charles Jr. (4th left, back row), with the St. Andrew West Rural based Rock Hall All Age School Water Monitors, at the launch of the programme, called ‘Water IQ Initiative’, or ‘WiQi’, at the school, recently. Also with the Monitors (from left, back row) are: Managing Director of the Rural Water Supply Limited (RWSL), Audley Thompson; Principal of the school, Paula Plummer; Member of Parliament for West Rural St. Andrew, Juliet Cuthbert-Flynn; Chairman of the RWSL, Councillor Homer Davis, who is also Mayor of Montego Bay; Education Officer at the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information, Latoya Johnson; and Managing Director of the Water Resources Authority (WRA), Peter Clarke.

 

For her part, Water Monitor at the school, Gari-Anna McKenzie, said the role is a welcomed one for her. “I feel very happy, because I will be able to help others, and tell them how to use water, and what conservation means.”

Another student, Amaire Sinclair, said he too is proud to take on the responsibility of ensuring that his peers understand their role in preserving water for the benefit of all.

For Managing Director of the WRA, Peter Clarke, preservation must be preached, and “when we educate the children about the water resources, we are educating them about monitoring, managing it, and we are building a future of persons who will have the mindset that water is a precious commodity, and it must be preserved.”

Rainwater Harvesting Systems To Be Installed At 30 More Schools

Managing Director of the Rural Water Supply Limited, Audley Thompson, speaking at the recent commissioning ceremony of a rainwater harvesting system at the Enid Bennett High School in St Catherine – Contributed photo

Jamaica Gleaner:

Approximately 30 more schools will benefit from rainwater harvesting systems to be installed by the Rural Water Supply Limited.

The agency recently commissioned into service systems installed at Rock Hall All-Age School in St Andrew and the Enid Bennett High School in St Catherine, with another 30 set for completion by the end of the 2019/20 fiscal year.

Managing Director, Audley Thompson, says the agency’s increased budget is enabling it to install systems in more educational institutions and communities.

Thompson indicated that the agency had discussions with the Ministry of Education and obtained a list of 182 primary schools which also require an improved water supply, adding that funding is being sought for the project.

He was speaking at the recent commissioning of the $7 million rainwater harvesting system installed at Enid Bennett High School.

Meanwhile, Thompson said the agency will be installing 26 minor water supply systems, which will afford improved access to the amenity for some 65,000 residents islandwide.

He informed that these will be established in several communities including Hamwalk, Redwood, Lucky Valley, Sligoville, and Watermount.

“We intend, also, to complete 23 catchment tanks which will benefit approximately 6,000 residents. We will continue to earnestly fulfil the mandate which we have been charged with by the Government and people of Jamaica,” Thompson stated.

He indicated that the agency recently provided water solutions to the Gardon Hill Primary School in St.Catherine, where the institution is being utilised to supply the community storage tank with pipelines installed to facilitate distribution.

Additionally, rainwater harvesting systems, storage facilities, and a number of 400-gallon black tanks were also provided for residents of Giblatore in the parish, with funding from the Inter-American Development Bank.

Rural Water Supply to boost storage capacity in St Mary

Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, Senator Pearnel Charles Jr (2nd right), listens as Rural Water Supply Limited (RWSL) Engineer, Paul Cummings (left), highlights features of the Maroon Town water supply system in St Mary, during a tour of the parish on Thursday (October 24). At right is Mayor of St Mary, Councillor Richard Creary. (Photo: JIS)

ST MARY, Jamaica— Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, Senator Pearnel Charles Jr, is assuring residents of St Mary that they will have increased access to water supply before year end.

He said that the Government, through Rural Water Supply Limited (RWSL), will be undertaking work to increase storage capacity in order to alleviate the water shortage being faced across various communities.

He was speaking after a tour of four RWSL supply systems in the parish on Thursday, to assess the volumes of water available as a result of recent rainfall, which followed droughts conditions in sections of the island.

The systems are Gibbs Hill, Maroon Town, Top Leinster, and Platfield.  Engineers and other officials from the RWSL were on hand to conduct assessments.

“On this tour, we have had the benefit of visiting a number of places and looking into the water sources and how we are going to get water to all of the people in Platfield, Clarks, Mount Vernon and other places around,” Charles Jr said.

“This Government is more concerned about results than we are about talking about things and so my focus is on solutions and getting it done,” he added.

The residents welcomed the visit by the minister and the assurance given that their water challenges will be alleviated shortly.

“I am happy the minister came and spoke with us,” said Dorothy Morgan of Top Leinster. “That is encouraging. We can see where he is making an effort to ensure that we have water that we can access,” she told JIS News.

Lance Brown of Platfield said he too is pleased about the Government’s intervention to address the water shortage.

“With the minister saying that he will look into having better catchment in our community, I feel much better. I know that water will be in a tank and so we in the hills can access it,” he said.

-JIS

HERMITAGE GETS WATER

Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation Karl Samuda (left) celebrates with residents of Hermitage in St Ann, Member of Parliament for North East St Ann and Minister of Labour and Social Security Shahine Robinson (right) and Director of the Rural Water Supply Limited Farrah Blake (center) as the community receives piped water for the first time in a commissioning ceremony on Friday, February 15, 2019 – Contributed photo.

Jamaica Gleaner:

Residents of Hermitage in St Ann now have piped water for the first time following the commissioning of the community’s new water supply system by Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, Karl Samuda on Friday.

The Hermitage Water Supply System was implemented by Rural Water Supply Limited at a cost of $14.4 million.

Under the project, PVC distribution pipelines and service laterals were installed throughout the community and connected to an existing National Water Commission (NWC) system nearby.

Samuda, who has responsibility for water, said there will be a significant boost in the budget of the Rural Water Supply Limited in the next fiscal year enabling the agency to undertake similar projects across the island.

He noted that when combined with projects being implemented by the NWC, the efforts will result in real improvements in the provision of water.

“I have committed that over the next two years, we will be bringing relief to the vast cross-section of persons who are affected,” said Samuda.

The residents were urged by their Member of Parliament and Minister of Labour and Social Security Shahine Robinson not to waste the valuable resource.

Samuda and Robinson also used the opportunity to visit the Chalky Hill Primary and Infant School in St Ann to view the rehabilitation of the school’s water storage system.

The work to repair the school’s two water storage tanks was carried out by Rural Water Supply Limited at a cost of $1.6 million.