Water harvesting added to Gov't black tank programme
Minister with responsibility for water Matthew Samuda (centre) is joined by the Member of Parliament for Clarendon South East, Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries Pearnel Charles Jr (third right), residents of Mitchell Town, including students from the Mitchell Town Primary, for the commissioning of the Mitchell Town Pipeline Replacement Project last Thursday.

THE Government has added a water-harvesting component to its much touted black tank distribution project.

Cabinet member with responsibility for water, Matthew Samuda last week announced that the plan to distribute between 10,000 and 13,000 black tanks this year will include a provision to help beneficiaries deal with the periodic droughts which Jamaica faces.

"We will be including a rainwater-harvesting component with every single one of these tanks, meaning we will provide the guttering and collection," said Samuda.

"We are also going to be training young men and women in communities to do the installation and providing them with a stipend and teaching them in plumbing," added Samuda as he expanded on the programme announced by Prime Minister Andrew Holness in his contribution to the 2023/24 Budget Debate last month.

"Thank you for the tank," is what Kelsie-Paige Graham (left) and Keiyana Lugg, students of Mitchell Town Primary, said to minister with responsibility for water Matthew Samuda following the commissioning of the Mitchell Town Pipeline Replacement Project in Clarendon last Thursday.

At that time Holness announced that 50,000 black tanks would be provided to residents of rural communities as secondary storage methods over the next five years to significantly improve the water resilience of these communities.

Addressing the commissioning of the Mitchell Town Pipeline Replacement Project in south-eastern Clarendon last Thursday Samuda provided an update on the project which is said to be critical for residents of several rural communities.

"This is particularly important, not just because secondary storage is important but because the National Water Commission's (NWC's) utility footprint has a start and an end point. There are communities that are outside of the utility footprint of the NWC and the municipal corporations systems. There are communities that need help right now, and this is one of the ways that we can help," said Samuda.

He added that the tanks will be geo-tagged by appending geographic coordinates to ensure that their locations can be tracked.

"When we know where secondary storage exists we are able to plot routes for trucking during times of crisis or dry periods. It makes an inefficient system worse when people are coming out with buckets as opposed to you putting the hose in the tank, and filling the tank properly, ensuring the least-possible wastage," explained Samuda.

The Mitchell Town Pipeline Replacement Project began last June and was completed at a cost of approximately $25 million.

It is expected to serve the Mitchell Town Housing Scheme, New Town Phases I and II, Moneymusk Housing Scheme, Lionel Town, Rocky Point and Portland Cottage.

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