NWC is providing water to Haughton District

NWC is providing water to Haughton District

Wednesday, April 01, 2020

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Dear Editor,

The National Water Commission (NWC) wishes to respond to a letter to the editor that appeared in the Jamaica Observer on March 24, 2020 with the headline 'If water is life, Haughton District left to die'.

To contextualise the issue it should be stated from the outset that the NWC is committed to the consistent delivery of quality potable water to households across the length and breadth of Jamaica irrespective of whether those households are in rural areas or urban communities.

While our commitment will never waiver, the commission is faced with myriad challenges which must be addressed almost on a daily basis.

Our primary challenge is aged infrastructure.

As we move to change out pipelines and upgrade our facilities, there will be unavoidable interruptions in water supply. We will always minimise the interruptions as best as possible while continuing to communicate ahead of time when disruptions will take place.

Also, it should be borne in mind that sometimes unplanned disruptions take place due to unforeseen problems that develop on our network.

Now, to the issues regarding the community of Haughton District in St Elizabeth. The community is served by the Newton pumping station. This station supplies other communities, including Newton, Coaker, and Red Hills.

Service delivery from the facility has been affected by electro-mechanical problems. So bad were the problems that the pump had to be taken out of operation for repairs. It is these problems that resulted in a lack of piped water for the period September 2019 to January 2020.

In light of the problem with the pumping station, the deep well was rehabilitated between December 6 to 21, 2019 and was commissioned on January 3, 2020 to serve the communities.

There was, however, service disruption from March 15 to 22 due to turbidity problems with the well-source.

During that period, water was trucked to the affected communities. The Newton pumping station was put back in operation and has been functioning since Monday, March 23, thereby allowing residents to have access to piped water.

The claim that residents will have to wait for another six months before they can get piped water is a false assertion. During this challenging time the NWC has committed to have its critical field staff available to attend to occurrences such as these.

This is a demonstration of our commitment to ensure that there is quick response and minimum disruption to our water delivery capabilities. We are doing this while we execute our improvement plans.

Mark Barnett

President and CEO

National Water Commission

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