Western News

Improved water supply for Irwindale

BY KARLA JOSEPHS Observer West staff reporter josephsk@jamaicaobserver.com

Thursday, September 20, 2012    

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RESIDENTS of Irwindale in St James can look forward to an improved water supply system within a year’s time.

“We are in the process of signing off on a loan that will provide us with just under US$2 million to address the water supply system in Irwindale in St James,” vicepresident of the National Water Commission, Mark Blair, told the Observer West.

He did not reveal the source of the funds, noting that they are “in the delicate stages of negotiating the contract”.

Meanwhile, Blair said the work will include, among other things, rehabilitating the reservoir, expanding Irwindale’s storage tank, establishing new flow or pressure zones, and installing replacement valves.

Until the improved water supply system is in place, residents will get water for only three days each week.

“For the Irwindale Housing Scheme and its environs, we will provide water on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. For Sign Main Road, Timber Close, Chelsea, and Irwin Heights, we will provide water on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays, and Sundays.” Blair said.

He noted, in the interim, that one of the challenges being faced by the Irwindale community is the significant increase in its population size, which has so far seen the demand for water exceeding supply.

“The Irwindale Community has grown significantly and the area is served by the Irwindale well, which is designed to provide 100,000 gallons of water per day. The demand in the community has grown to a need for 180,000 gallons of water per day [so] the demand is more than the supply,” he said.

Blair added that the only solution was to share the water supply in the three different sections of the community.

“Because we don’t have enough water to serve everybody, such as the Irwindale Housing Scheme, Sign Main Road, Timber Close, [and] the Chelsea and Irwin Heights area, we had to split the water supply to the three different areas on a consistent basis. On alternate days, these communities will have regular water supply,” he said.

Still, there are some residents who live above the tank provided and so they will continue to have water woes. Interim measures are being put in place for them, pending improvements to the system, which will see residents receiving water everyday.

“We are trying to get some 1,200-gallon tanks to put above our tank and try and pump that little amount of water that is required. These persons should not be above the tank, but we will try and get some small tanks from some old trucks that have tanks and install them in Irwin Heights and some parts of Irwindale,” Blair noted.

“We just started to explore that possibility and we will have further discussions with the ministry [of water, environment, land, and climate change]. We are aiming to have this done in the next three months,” he added.



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