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Work on Essex Valley water scheme resumes

Piped water will be flowing in another 12 months says Parchment

Monday, August 25, 2014    

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SANTA CRUZ , St Elizabeth — Traffic slowed to a crawl, but residents weren't complaining as pipe-laying work on the Essex Valley Water Supply System resumed in Nain last week.

The scheme, which is meant to supply domestic piped water to more than a dozen communities in South East St Elizabeth including fast-growing Junction, has been stalled for several years. It was first launched in 2001.

The first phase of the current work programme worth $105 million involves a pipe network between Nain and Dunder Hill about five miles away. Member of Parliament for South East St Elizabeth Richard Parchment says a second contract worth $85 million for completion of the well field and installation of a pump at Long Hill, close to North Hampton in the Myersville Division "has gone through Cabinet and will be signed (this) week".

A re-lift station is also to be built at Nain, Parchment said.

The long delayed Essex Valley scheme came into sharp focus as a result of a prolonged drought which has not only devastated farming but left many in southern St Elizabeth and south Manchester struggling to find water to drink and for other domestic purposes.

"In another 12 months water will be flowing through the pipes of the Essex Valley for the first time, at last," Parchment said.

However, the MP said that even with the completion of the project, most people in his constituency will still be without piped water.

Currently,only an estimated 12 per cent of residents in South East St Elizabeth have access to treated piped water in their homes. The Essex Valley project will elevate that figure to 26 per cent, Parchment said.

Many thousands of St Elizabeth residents rely on rain water catchment and storage tanks for water and on emergency trucking during drought.

A programme to repair and expand community water catchment tanks complete with gravity-fed pumping would continue, Parchment said.

— Garfield Myers

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