ST THOMAS, Jamaica – The Government is to pursue the development of the Mahogany Vale Dam in St Thomas as a national priority, ensuring reliable water supply for thousands of residents in the eastern end of the island.
This was disclosed by Prime Minister, Andrew Holness, during his 2023/24 Budget Debate presentation in the House of Representatives on Thursday.
The project will form part of a major integrated water and energy project utilising the well-established Pumped Hydro Storage and Hydro Electricity concepts, which the prime minister announced last year, to solve Jamaica's water and energy problems and to make the island a truly green country.
He said that the Mahogany Vale Dam was first proposed in a 1967 report as a possible solution for augmenting the potable water supply for the city of Kingston.
The projects were later abandoned in favour of a less capital-intensive but lower yielding Rio Cobre Water Supply Scheme.
In 1983, the Yallahs Pipeline Project was started as the first phase of the Blue Mountain Water Supply Project, which included the building of a tunnel, a dam and hydroelectric station.
“The Yallahs Pipeline was completed in 1986 and now brings water from the Yallahs and Negro Rivers in St Thomas to the Mona Reservoir to meet the needs of parts of Kingston and St Andrew,” he noted.
Pointing out that the initial consideration when the Mahogany Vale Dam was proposed was only the harnessing of water for Kingston, the prime minister said, “we must also secure reliable water supply for the developments that are being planned for the eastern end of the island”.
He noted that the financial and technical analyses for the project will require development partner assistance and the Government has started to pursue various avenues of support, including climate-change funding.
“Shortly, I will announce an enterprise team to manage the project,” he told the House, while stating that “the need for such a project is beyond question; we must get it done”.
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