Good news on water from Geophysx

Friday, June 07, 2019

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If Geophysx Jamaica's discovery of what appears to be large areas of possible potable water turns out to be accurate, it will be quite interesting to see how it will be handled by the Government and, in particular, the National Water Commission (NWC).

According to Mr Robert Stewart of Geophysx Jamaica, his company, in its search for precious minerals, including gold, has already created maps in the area around Port Royal and stretching to Portmore, St Catherine, where there are possible water sources.

“We will end up doing the island and giving the Government some maps that show them areas that have potential and which seem to show water. This will give the Government the ability to zone in on areas quicker because right now it is more trial and error and it is very expensive to drill for water,” Mr Stewart told this newspaper.

That Mr Stewart and his company are providing the maps to the Government free of cost is worthy of commendation, as it suggests that Geophysx is committed to contributing to the improvement of conditions in the country.

As our story yesterday noted, new sources of water could provide the answer to repeated attempts at preventing the seasonal shortage of potable water that has affected the island for many years.

While we are still not yet convinced that the NWC has the ability to properly manage the country's water resources, we must give the entity credit for trying. Indeed, as it relates to non-revenue water — a source of great loss for the NWC running into the millions of dollars annually — we note that the agency last year reported a significant reduction.

According to NWC President Mark Barnett, non-revenue water levels in Kingston and St Andrew have declined significantly, from 1,040 litres per connection per day, or about 60 per cent of production in August 2016, to 801 litres per connection per day or about 49 per cent of production as at the end of November 2018.

Mr Barnett was providing an update on the US$42.5-million, five-year-long Kingston and St Andrew Non-Revenue Water Reduction Programme financed by a loan from the Inter-American Development Bank.

Under that programme the NWC is receiving guidance from Miya, a multi-national provider of urban water efficiency solutions.

The co-management project, we are told, focuses on improving Kingston and St Andrew's water distribution system within five years, which will, if realised, result in estimated daily savings of more than 70 million litres of fresh water.

That will likely meet the needs of the Corporate Area, based on information shared by the prime minister last month that under the current water production conditions, only about 35 million gallons per day are available for distribution in Kingston and St Andrew, representing a shortfall of nearly 26 million gallons per day of installed capacity.

As we have pointed out in this space before, there is great need for additional water production capacity if we are to effectively avoid the more pressing problems associated with drought.

If, as we hope, the deposits identified by Geophysx Jamaica turn out to be of use to the country, the NWC must be strategic in its thinking of how to harvest, treat, and efficiently distribute this water.

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