KINGSTON, Jamaica: The Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development is committed to the implementation of projects and programmes to expand minor water supply across Jamaica.
This expansion is in keeping with the National Water Sector Policy and Implementation Plan and is being spearheaded by the Rural Water Supply Limited (RWSL) which was added to the Local Government portfolio in the last quarter of 2020.
“We will improve lives, sustain livelihoods and revive communities by providing modern and reliable minor water supply systems,” says Portfolio Minister, Honourable Desmond McKenzie.
“I commend the Rural Water Supply Limited for a job well done. There is more hard work ahead and the Government is determined to dramatically improve public access to piped, potable water.”
According to an assessment done in 2019, piped water supply systems reach 70% of Jamaicans. Additionally, 27% of people who access water from standpipes in rural areas, must walk more than 500 metres to get the commodity.
“This is the challenge that we are determined to overcome,” Minister McKenzie underscored.
During the 2021/2022 financial year, the RWSL completed a range of major projects which connected more Jamaicans to piped potable water within their communities. These include Penn and Lucky Valley in St Catherine; Brandon Hill and Salt River in Clarendon; Portland Cottage and Rocky Point in Clarendon; Bangor Ridge in Portland; Coral Gardens, Flower Hill, Torado Heights and Stonehenge in St James.
The flagship project completed was the Top Aberdeen Water Supply system in St. Elizabeth. The facility was officially commissioned into service in February, and more than 1,600 residents are benefiting from reliable water supply.
The works included the construction of a new pumping station and storage tank; the installation of a solar pumping system, and new distribution and transmission pipelines, at a cost of J$111 million.
The agency also installed catchment tanks and rainwater harvesting facilities at over 30 schools, institutions, and communities around the country. These included Springfield and Quickstep in St. Elizabeth; Jeffrey Town and Carron Hall in St. Mary; Bensonton, St. Ann; Harrywatch in Manchester, Greater Portmore and Troja in St. Catherine; Content in Westmoreland, and Smithville in Clarendon.
The rainwater harvesting projects benefit over 40,000 residents in their communities.