Portmore political representatives welcome major water project, says NWC

Portmore political representatives welcome major water project, says NWC

Friday, January 22, 2021

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Leading political figures in Portmore, St Catherine, have reportedly applauded the move by the National Water Commission (NWC) to implement the Portmore Non-Revenue Water (NRW) Reduction Programme in the municipality.

Late last year the Government announced that it is to spend US$13 million over the next five years, on a major project aimed at reducing water loss and improving the supply of water to residents of Portmore.

Through the programme, the Government is aiming to reduce the level of NRW in Portmore from as high as 70 per cent to 30 per cent by the end of the project period.

According to the NWC, high commendation for the project came from Members of Parliament in Portmore, as well as councillors in the Portmore Municipal Corporation who participated in a Political Stakeholders Virtual Forum on Tuesday, to discuss the implementation of the five-year programme.

As part of the project, aged pipelines will be replaced to improve the water supply in the municipality. There are also plans to regularise people who are not account holders, as well as carry out bulk meter installation.

The international firm MIYA, a world-leading efficiency-oriented water operator with vast experience and a full-range offer for water utilities including water efficiency, through its local subsidiary MIYA Jamaica, has been contracted as a private partner to work jointly with the NWC to implement the project.

The NWC said among those applauding the move was Mayor of Portmore Leon Thomas.

“I want to thank the NWC for the programme that it is bringing to Portmore. It is long overdue. This is something that we welcome,” Thomas said.

“We have seen a lot of leaks in Portmore, and we have seen a lot of cries in Portmore, and we have seen a lot of water go to waste in Portmore. So, we welcome it, and we are ready to work closely with the NWC to make certain that the programme is a successful one,” added Thomas.

Describing the project as timely, Alando Terrelonge, Member of Parliament (MP) for St Catherine East Central, said: “We look forward to it, and we welcome this sort of sustained partnership for the greater benefit of the residents that we serve.”

The forum, which the NWC said featured frank, fruitful and open exchanges, also saw the participation of Fitz Jackson, MP for St Catherine Southern; and Robert Miller, MP for St Catherine South Eastern.

Among the issues raised were road reinstatement, billing and improvements in the pipe infrastructure, as well as timely communication of service disruptions during the implementation of the project.

These queries from the political stakeholders were responded to by panellists from the NWC, including Jermaine G Jackson, project manager; Calvert Davis, the water production manager for St Catherine; and Delano Williams, NWC's community relations manager (eastern).

Alvaro Ramalho, the country manager for MIYA Jamaica and Katherine Paleracio, NRW management specialist at MIYA were also on hand to answer questions about the project.

At the end of the discussion, Davis said that the aim is now to achieve the objectives that have been set for the project.

“The meeting went very well. We identified the key areas that we plan to target in terms of water wastage, in terms of improving the supply to the customers, including reducing leaks,” Davis said.

“I think it was well received by all persons involved, which included the MPs, the councillors and the mayor, who pledged their support for the project. So, overall, it was a good meeting, and we can just work as a team to ensure that the objective that we have set out, after the five years, we can benefit from it.”

Similarly, Ramalho believed that the meeting served its purpose of bringing all parties on the same page.

“I think it was a clear and informative meeting. The political stakeholders asked their questions, and I think that NWC responded properly and accurately. And let's wait for the next five years to have everybody happy in terms of water[-loss] reduction,” said Ramalho.

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