Jamaica Prime Minister Announces Measures to Deal with Prolonged Drought

Prime Minister Andrew Holness

KINGSTON, Jamaica, Wednesday May 15, 2019 – As Jamaica continues to grapple with a prolonged drought, Prime Minister Andrew Holness has announced several initiatives to improve the supply of water to the Corporate Area and the south-eastern parish of St Catherine, estimated to cost US$160 million.

Among the new measures he announced yesterday is the construction of a 15-million-gallon-per-day water treatment plant in St Catherine.

The new plant will be established under a public-private partnership (PPP) arrangement, with the private entity being responsible to finance, design, construct, operate and maintain this plant and to sell water to the National Water Commission (NWC).

The total cost to develop the project and construct the new water treatment plant is estimated at US$60 million.

“The project will take 24 months, and we have received the approval from the Public Investment Management Committee (PIMC),” Prime Minister Holness told the House of Representatives.

He pointed out that the private partner – a consortium consisting of a local bank and international construction company in water infrastructure development – will have 45 days to complete negotiations with the Government, after which they will break ground and start construction.

Holness also advised the Lower House that the project is contiguous with the divestment of the Central Wastewater Treatment Company (CWTC), which owns the Soapberry Wastewater Treatment Plant in St Catherine.

Other projects the Prime Minister announced include the installation of 2.7 kilometres of 16-inch-diameter ductile iron pipeline from Stanton Terrace to Marescaux Road, replacing the old cast iron pipes, at an estimated cost of US$12 million.

“The design for this pipeline is completed,” he said.

In addition, plans are in place for the installation of 3.0 kilometres of 16-inch transmission mains from King’s House gate (East Kings House Road) to West Kings House Road at its intersection with Constant Spring Road.

“This will strengthen the flexibility of supplying areas that are mainly supplied by the Constant Spring Water Treatment Plant with water from the Mona Water Treatment Plant. This is estimated to cost US$12 million,” Holness said.

He further informed that the very old seven-inch diameter pipeline between the Norman Manley Airport roundabout and Port Royal is in a very bad condition and is leaking.

Holness emphasized that this main has to be upgraded to increase the carrying capacity to Port Royal to support the planned developments there, adding that it is the intention to install about 10 kilometres of 12-inch pipeline at a cost of approximately US$15 million.

The Prime Minister also informed that the pipeline that transfers water from the Seaview Water Treatment Plant to serve the upper sections of Jack’s Hill, such as Jubba Spring, Sunset Avenue, Tavistock Heights and Skyline Drive, is in urgent need of replacement.

“It is planned to install a 10-inch diameter pipeline at a cost of US$5 million. Then we will have to do Six Miles to North Street, and that will see the installation of 12 kilometres of varying-size pipes from 24 inches to 36 inches of ductile iron transmission mains that traverse along Spanish Town Road to Glenmore Road,” he said.

He noted further that this will increase transfer capacity and flexibility within the system.

The Prime Minister also announced the installation of five kilometres of 24- inch diameter transmission mains along Washington Boulevard to allow for improved capacity and flexibility in water distribution.

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