Western News

Westmoreland Municipal Corporation launches $48-m water project

BY ANTHONY LEWIS
Observer West writer

Thursday, October 05, 2017

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DARLISTON, Westmoreland - The Westmoreland Municipal Corporation recently launched a $48.3 million Local Government Adaptation to Climate Change project, aimed at improving local governance capacity in the parish.

The project is being financed by the European Union (EU) to the tune of €300,000 (approximately J$39.6 million) and the Westmoreland Municipal Corporation, which contributed the remaining $8.7 million.

The launch was held at the Maud McLeod High School in Darliston, Westmoreland.

The 27-month project is expected to build capacity of local water resources supplied via the minor supply systems in the context of a changing climate.

It involves the rehabilitating of minor water supply infrastructure; improving the capability of councillors and staff to deliver improved water services to residents; strengthening the ability of citizens to participate in the governance of water supply and enhancing accountability in local government.

Vanna Lawrence, the European Union Delegation Project Manager for Jamaica, Bahamas, Belize, Turks and Caicos Islands, and the Cayman Islands, said the Westmoreland Municipal Corporation received the first grant under the European Commission funding made available to Jamaica's local authorities.

Lawrence added that over the 27 months, the EU expects an improvement in the capacity of the Westmoreland Municipal Corporation, and enhancement in self-governing capacity to be more accountable as a public institution.

Local Government Minister, Desmond McKenzie congratulated the Westmoreland Municipal Corporation for their efforts in obtaining funding for the project, something he said his ministry would not be able to afford.

“What the proposal was speaking to is something that the Ministry of Local Government would never be able to fully finance for the benefit of the parish of Westmoreland,” said McKenzie.

McKenzie, who also stated that the provision of water is critical to Westmoreland, congratulated both present and successive members of Parliament, adding that the Westmoreland Eastern constituency has come a far way in terms of development and growth.

The Minister later implored the Darliston community to ensure that the EU will not be left disappointed with the project's outcome, so as to allow for a favourable consideration of other projects sent to the European Union for funding based on past experience.

Member of Parliament for Westmoreland Eastern, Luther Buchanan, suggested that minor water supply provided by municipal corporations, and potable water provided by the National Water Commission, “be synchronised to bring potable water to rural communities”.

“Since we already have potable water through the NWC into what I refer to as the entrance or a central location into these hilly terrains, I believe the next step is a conversation to synchronise your EU programme with an NWC programme to see how best that kind of partnership can produce potable water in the homes of the citizenry,” Buchanan argued.

In rationalising his suggestion, he pointed to two minor water supply catchment tanks in close proximity to each other in a particular community. He noted, however, that “this is still not enough to provide water to the people.”

He argued that funding from the EU could assist with the building out of more capacity (catchment tanks), while the NWC could lay the pipelines and pump the water, so as to allow potable water to reach homes.

Custos of Westmoreland Rev Hartley Perrin, who chaired the function, said Buchanan's proposal is worth considering.

He suggested that the Westmoreland Municipal Corporation's project manager specialist, Simone Williams, should submit another proposal to the EU for the project that Buchanan had suggested.

Meanwhile, an elated Mayor of Savanna-la-Mar, Berthel Moore, indicated that the project will be a blessing for the people in the eastern section of the parish.

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