Jamaica is on course to fulfil its 2030 objective of providing sanitation and potable water to all of its citizens.
The bold declaration was made by Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation with responsibility for water, climate change and the environment, Senator Matthew Samuda. He was speaking on a tour of the districts of Lime Bottom, Shaw Park Road, Marl Road the nearby environs in the North East St Ann constituency on December 22.
Samuda is also the Jamaica Labour Party’s (JLP’s) candidate for the constituency in the next general elections that are due by 2025.
The minister said the Government spent some $4 billion on water projects in the last fiscal year to benefit 200,000 people, stating that “this year we are midway a $4 billion investment”.
Continuing, he said: “We would have had some delay because of slowness in the importation of pipes.
“That was made even more difficult, as there were some international disruptions coming out of China and some of the factories out of France,” he said.
With the pipes now in country, Samuda said the Government will be “playing a bit of catching up to ensure that we meet our end of fiscal year targets.
“So, expect to see that $4 billion being deployed in those products, which would see another 150,000 people benefiting,” the minister said.
Turning to water projects in St Ann, Samuda said residents of Lime Bottom, Shaw Park Heights, Marl Road and nearby communities will benefit from a new and formal National Water Commission (NWC) water system.
“The Government has invested roughly $24 million in this water distribution line to serve over 800 people who have never had access to any formal water system.
“We are pleased to see the joy on the faces of each resident we greet because of this project,” he added.
The project is part of the NWC’s thrust to extend its network and bring more reliable water supplies to several areas that historically had no formal water supply, according to Samuda.
He said prior to the implementation of the project, residents on several roads opted to install informal connections at numerous points of the NWC mains. These individual lines, the minister said, extended several hundred feet to various houses.
With the installation of new mains, the NWC can supply customers via a designated pipeline while minimising leaks and the potential for wastage.