KINGSTON, Jamaica— Member of Parliament for Manchester Southern, Robert Chin, has expressed surprise that several wells in his constituency were being held for the Russian Government.
Chin, who did not elaborate, made the revelation during his recent contribution to the State of the Constituency Debate in the House of Representatives. He said this was unacceptable at a time when his constituents were struggling to find adequate sources of potable water.
“These wells at Red Berry in Porus need to be made available to the citizens of Porus,” Chin stated. He also told the House that of the 120 districts in the constituency, 80 are without piped water.
“Leaves us to wonder how people live,” Chin remarked before outlining several initiatives aimed at addressing the perennial problem. He said that among the challenges is the fact that there is a high level of leakage along several legs of pipeline from the Warwick pumping station to the Cross Keys booster station which is currently out of use. Chin informed that the project design has been completed for the tendering process and it will cost over $100 million to undertake the work. The aim, he said, is for the work to start in the current financial year.
Among other plans to address the chronic water shortage in the constituency are:
• Alligator Pond will be supplied with additional water from a new well drilled at the New Forest pumping station last year at a cost of approximately $33 million. The pump and electrical controls were procured and will be installed in the current financial year.
• Engineering design to upgrade the Porus water supply system will commence during the financial year. This is to be included in the 2023/2024 budget year.
• A submission will be made for an upgrade to the Coffee Grove water system for inclusion in the 2023/2024 budget.
Meanwhile, bauxite company Jamalco has provided a well that is located in Harmons Valley to provide domestic water to the residents of Harmons and its environs. Chin said that with a collaborative effort involving a number of stakeholders, the Harmons Domestic Water Supply project has now entered its second phase. The project proposal has been reviewed and endorsed and will be shared with the relevant persons/entities to ensure that the necessary funding is secured.
Regarding the Porus division, Chin said it has been recommended that the springs at St Toolies be dammed and the water treated and distributed to the residents in and around St Toolies. And, he said the National Irrigation Commission has wells that can be made functional so that farmers would have access to cheaper water.
“It is evident that we do not have a water problem, but rather we have a water management problem. Manchester Southern needs special attention to achieve rural development goals,” said Chin.
In the meantime, Chin said there were several parish tanks that can be rehabilitated so that drinking water can be accessed. “Additionally, there are catchment tanks that can be repaired to alleviate the water shortage being experienced by farmers during the dry seasons,” he said.
The first-term MP also shared that there was an abandoned well in Logwood Prospect and steps are being made to have it rehabilitated.
“When fully functional, this well will supply irrigation water from Prospect through Turner Top and into Blakes Pen,” he said.