Regional

Long-awaited US$70-million water improvement project for Negril could begin next year — Barnett

BY ANTHONY LEWIS
Observer West writer

Thursday, August 15, 2019

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NEGRIL, Westmoreland — President of the National Water Commission (NWC) Mark Barnett says work is expected to start next year on the long-awaited US$70-million water supply improvement project for the Negril area.

Speaking with the Jamaica Observer West last week, Barnett said the commission is still pursuing the expansion of the Roaring River Treatment Plant in Westmoreland, which is in an advanced stage of planning.

That facility forms a major part of the massive expansion programme aimed at significantly improving the supply of water to the resort town of Negril.

“We are now in the process of finalising the details for that, so we can identify the suitable engineering entity that will do that work. So, it is still on the cards and hopefully, we can get something started early next year, break ground and start to construct,” disclosed Barnett.

Negril, which shares the parishes of Hanover and Westmoreland, currently receives three million gallons of water daily from the Logwood Treatment Plant in Hanover.

But, the NWC president said Roaring River would provide a more reliable supply.

“It is a more reliable source than Logwood. As you know, Logwood suffers variability inflow. Almost every three years you can expect some changes based on what happens on the western side. So, having understood what is happening with that water source, we took the decision that we will expand Roaring River as a more reliable source,” explained Barnett.

In November, the Observer West reported that Richard Williams of the National Water Commission told a Ministry of Local Government and Community Development town hall meeting held at the Negril Community Centre that discussions were being held with private entities for a public/private partnership, in a bid to increase the supply of water to the resort town.

“Our plan going forward is to improve the water supply that comes into Negril. This is in the short to medium term, 2019 – 2021,” disclosed Williams, who added “in order to augment the supply to Negril, we have to do a major development at the Roaring River facility which will increase the supply from that facility by five million gallons of water per day.”

Williams had stated that in order to facilitate the expansion programme, the commission will be installing a 32-inch trunk main from the Roaring River plant to Sheffield in Negril where an interconnection will be made to the current main coming from Logwood.

Negril currently uses roughly two million gallons of water per day, which means the commission is sending in excess of one million gallons to the area daily.

However, despite the excess supply, residents, hoteliers, and the business community, in general, have been complaining for a number of years about the chronic water shortage during “certain times of the year”.

For instance, in 2017, the National Water Commission reported that drought conditions affecting sections of western Jamaica have reduced the output level of the Logwood Treatment Plant by as much as 80 per cent.

Williams argued, however, that it is anticipated that with the additional five million gallons of water per day, in the worst of times, the commission would be in a better position to adequately supply Negril with the expansion of the Roaring River Water Supply.

In April of 2017, then minister with responsibility for water, works and housing in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, Dr Horace Chang, committed more water for Negril. At that time, the minister stated that despite the Government's fiscal limitations, his Administration is committed to addressing the chronic water shortage in the resort town of Negril.


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