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NWC to restore underground wells next year

Friday, July 04, 2014    

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THE National Water Commission (NWC) will begin restoring underground wells in the Corporate Area next year, as part of efforts to alleviate the water shortage being experienced across the island.

NWC Vice-President of Operations Mark Blair, who made the disclosure during yesterday's Jamaica House press briefing at the Office of the Prime Minister, said that there are wells at Jamaica House, King's House, Devon House, and in the downtown Kingston area.

"We have to have mitigating measures and contingency plans to deal with the lack of rainfall and the best solution in our minds is to go to the ground water," he stated.

Meanwhile, he disclosed that the procurement process is underway for the de-silting of the Hermitage Dam in St Andrew, 60 per cent of which is silted.

"We are in the middle of a procurement process where we have shortlisted a few contractors...to de-silt over one million metres cube of sand, gravel and silt," he said, noting that the process is expected to last for eight to 10 months.

This is expected to provide another 200 million gallons of water which is another 25 to 30 days extra of storage.

The dam was built in 1927 and has had no major desilting work done since then.

Following up on comments made by water minister Robert Pickersgill in Parliamanet Tuesday, head of the Meteorological Service of Jamaica Jeffrey Spooner told the press briefing that the July to August dry period will pose severe challenges for the country as below average rainfall is expected.

He noted that the worse affected parishes so far are Kingston, St Andrew, St Thomas and St Elizabeth.

"What this is indicating to us is that if we are expecting below normal rainfall for the primary rainfall period of October, November, this will have severe implications for water availability for the period January to April 2015," he said.

The NWC will be implementing water restrictions to address the island-wide shortage in supply of the commodity due to unseasonably low rainfall since May. By this weekend, a prohibition notice will be issued for the washing of vehicles, watering of lawns, filling of swimming pools and other activities.

Persons found to be in breach of the prohibition may be fined in a Resident Magistrate's Court.

— JIS

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