Mona 2 — An idea whose time has come?

Mona 2 — An idea whose time has come?

Howard Chin

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

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I wrote this following in April 2014 and recent comments on water resources in Jamaica have prompted a resubmission:

I note that the annual water crisis is upon us, and I believe a modest suggestion is in order at this time.

Have you noticed that the National Water Commission (NWC), for years, has been telling us that, although we might be in the middle of a drought, if there is a sudden downpour and the Hope River becomes a muddy torrent, they will say that they are closing the intake to the Mona Reservoir? With climate change upon us, we are supposed to get less and less rainfall. (Ask Minister Pickersgill, most likely he will confirm this.) Meanwhile, we are supposed to be getting more powerful hurricanes, which means muddy water coming down the Hope River.

Never mind that this means that it's farmland washing away — a clear failure of the ministries of agriculture, and water, land, environment and climate change to control erosion.

However, let's just ignore that for a moment. The storm water is going to be more common than the gentle rains which would yield nice clean water — never mind the coffee berry borer pesticide — to refill the Mona Reservoir, and the NWC will keep it out of the reservoir.

My suggestion is as follows: Between the Mona Reservoir and College Common road, there is available a wooded area which could be made into a reservoir. See the outline in red on the Survey Deparment map, and the Google Earth overhead view of the area attached. I'd be unhappy to see those trees go, they seem to be nice trees.

If I call the current Mona Reservoir “Mona 1”, let me call the new reservoir “Mona 2”. If this is lined and made a bit higher than Mona 1, it could be used to collect the now unusable muddy torrents, and when the farmland has settled out the clear water could be let out into Mona 1. If the depth of Mona 2 was made to be a depth of, say, 40 feet (approximately 12.2 metres) it would contain 244 million imperial gallons of water. A nice little addition (a little over quarter the capacity) to Mona 1 Reservoir with a reported capacity of 809 millions of gallons. Using the hillside as the fourth side of the reservoir would add a little more to the capacity of Mona 2 and cut down on the cost.

Of course, the Mona 2 Reservoir would have to be cleaned out every now and again, until we can cut down the amount of farmland washing into it.

I'm baffled as to why the government technocrats have not thought of this in the time since Independence.

Perhaps this is an idea whose time has come? I see that the NWC is saying that we should use less water. Perhaps I should make other suggestions about our water woes?

Howard Chin is a member of the Jamaica Institution of Engineers. Send comments to the Jamaica Observer or hmc14@cwjamaica.com


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