$100 million to truck water

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The Government has earmarked $100 million to truck water to areas affected by the worsening drought conditions, Prime Minister Andrew Holness disclosed during a statement on the status of the Kingston and St Andrew water supply in the House of Representatives on Tuesday.

“We have given out over 500 water tanks. Water tanks are not the ultimate solution, because you still have a limited capacity of water, but at least you are able to manage water over a longer period if you have storage,” the prime minister said.

The National Water Commission (NWC) confirmed that its main water sources for the Corporate Area — Mona Reservoir and Hermitage Dam — are down to 27.4 per cent and 33.1 per cent of their capacities, respectively.

The Kingston Metropolitan Area receives its supply from four main sources – ground water wells located at the foothills around the city, which supply Beverly Hills/Long Mountain and Red Hills/Chancery Hall; the Hermitage Dam, which supplies the Constant Spring and Seaview Water Treatment Plants; Yallahs and Hope Rivers, which serve Mona Reservoir and both the Hope and Mona Water Treatment Plants; and the Rio Cobre/White Marl system, which complements previously named supply sources.

Holness noted that the role of the Government is to ensure that there is adequacy and reliability of supplies, but more importantly, “we must ensure there is resiliency”.

To this end, he informed that the NWC has been directed to commence the review that would give rise to the expansion of raw water storage and increased availability of raw water.

“This would mean increasing the capacity of the Hermitage Reservoir to allow for increased storage during the rainy periods. The present facility will have to be expanded… and the NWC is already scoping as to what that will cost,” Holness said.

“The issue of dredging is one that we are looking at for the Mona Dam. The problem is that the base of the Mona Dam is lined with clay, and so if you dredge it, you could disturb the sealed linings, so we have to be very careful. It is being examined to see what technology could be deployed to do it, but it’s not something that we take lightly,” he added.

In addition, the NWC is to review, for implementation, Phase II of the Yallahs Water Supply System. This includes assessing the possibilities of accessing water from the Swift River from the Portland side of the mountain range as well as providing additional storage at Mahogany Vale.

The agency is to also explore other groundwater extraction possibilities from the eastern St Andrew/St Thomas mountain ranges.

Meanwhile, the prime minister said the NWC is nearing completion of the water works along both Hagley Park and Constant Spring roads.

“Once finished, we will see upgraded transmission mains and a more reliable system of distribution in those areas,” Holness said.


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