Phillips calls for expansion of water project in Manchester
MANDEVILLE, Manchester – Member of Parliament for Manchester North Western Mikael Phillips is reiterating his calls for the Government to tap into more wells to supplement water supply here.
Phillips is proposing that wells which were used to supply water to the now-mothballed Windalco/Kirkvine bauxite/alumina plant be tapped into to help alleviate Manchester’s water crisis.
“The Government needs to at some point either look at taking over the wells, purchasing them, whichever way, to get access to the ones owned by Windalco, since it seems that the bauxite plant will never reopen that these wells be taken over by the State to be able to provide more water source for Manchester,” he said on Wednesday.
“Windalco owns more wells than National Water Commission in Porus. These wells have more than enough capacity to provide additional water supply to the parish and to Mandeville itself. We have been having this discussion from 1973 and we are in 2023 and the plant has been closed down for over 10 years,” added Phillips.
The Pepper well field, downslope at low altitude in St Elizabeth, is the main source of water for Mandeville, which is more than 2,000 feet above sea level, atop the Manchester Plateau.
Phillips, while grateful for the current phase of the Greater Mandeville Water Supply Improvement project, is calling for communities along the main pipeline to have potable water.
“The people who will be getting water from this upgrade are the existing customers. What about those in the Kingsland area that the main line passes through the community and they themselves don’t get water,” said Phillips.
“The budget for this the bulk of the money is coming from [National Housing Trust], because they are carrying water to their Perth project – the Perth housing scheme. So while we are grateful for it, I would say it would be a greater success if we have persons who are not receiving water now being able to receive it in this phase,” he added.
Mandeville and surrounding communities have struggled with water shortage for decades, with town elders insisting over a period of many years that the problem has hindered growth.
Many households in Manchester and the wider south-central Jamaica have had to rely on rainwater harvesting.
The long-standing issue of water supply has not only affected households, but commerce, with businesses suffering from the inconsistency in the supply of the precious commodity.
Phillips said the “bulk of Manchester still doesn’t have potable water”.
“Only about 40 per cent of Manchester has potable water. I understand we have to do the change out of the pipes, because we are losing too much to non-revenue. The water is leaking out before it gets to the customer. At the same time, why not include customers who are not getting, especially on this project seeing that the main pipe is already passing through Kingsland and none of the offshoot communities have pipes in any of them?” he asked.
“When you look at some of the new subdivisions they are required to put in fire hydrants, but there is no water running to these fire hydrants, because there is no pipe water in the communities,” added Phillips.