Gov’t investing in improving water sector’s resilience – Samuda
Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, Matthew Samuda. (Photo: JIS)

KINGSTON, Jamaica – The Government is making major investments in Jamaica’s water sector infrastructure to improve resilience, says Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, Matthew Samuda.

Samuda said the investments are being undertaken in initiatives focusing on the country’s distribution network, irrigation capacity, decentralised storage at community levels, and improving processing capacity as well as upgrading of approximately 100 pumping stations and development of the Mahogony Vale Dam Project.

He was addressing a function hosted by the Jamaica Institution of Engineers at the Summit in New Kingston on Tuesday.

Samuda said implementation of the Non-Revenue Water Programme has been a critical component of building resilience.

“In 2015, Kingston and St Andrew’s non-revenue water source was in the range of 72 per cent. As of now, we are happy to report that we’ve cut that figure down to 38 per cent. In essence, we are pumping significantly less water into the ground. Now, that is one of the major elements of resilience,” the minister stated.

He said the Non-Revenue Water programme is also being undertaken in Portmore, St Catherine.

“We are currently out to tender for a national non-revenue water partner. This is done as a PPP (Public-Private Partnership) with a major investment in our infrastructure. It increases storage, it revitalises your distribution network, it installs pressure monitoring gauges, and it also changes the meters at the household level. This has given us significant success in reduction in damage, in wasted water, [and] in electricity bills. So, your non-revenue water programme is priority number one,” he stated.

Samuda further disclosed that significant investment is being made in the irrigation capacity.

“Currently, US$50 million is being deployed into the irrigation systems – Essex Valley in St Elizabeth. We are also in negotiations with a partner to implement the Pedro Plains Irrigation Systems,” he said.

He informed that the contract for developing the Content Water Treatment Plant has been signed.

“This will put some 15 million gallons daily into the Corporate Area and significantly reduce the water challenges that are being experienced right throughout Kingston and St Andrew and, indeed, Portmore. [This is] a major investment that will be some US$77 million,” he disclosed.

Additionally, Samuda advised that the Floating Solar Plant Project for the Mona Reservoir is scheduled to get under way within weeks.

“The project will see a floating solar system being installed at a cost of approximately US$60 million that will produce 45 megawatts of clean energy. This investment is not being made by the Government of Jamaica; it is being done as a PPP, and the ultimate value to the [National] Water Commission would be in excess of one billion Jamaican dollars a year. That is approximately what our energy bill is for a month,” he informed, while also advising that upgrading of the 100 pumping stations is under way.

Additionally, Samuda indicated that the Government has initiated the preparation and planning stage for the Mahogony Vale Dam project.

This is an integrated water and energy project intended to significantly increase resilience in the eastern end of the island.


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