The National Water Commission (NWC) has received seven trucks, valued at approximately $92.6 million, which will significantly bolster the entity’s service delivery capability.
The vehicles were handed over on Tuesday during a ceremony at the NWC’s head office on Marescaux Road in Kingston, which was addressed by Prime Minister Andrew Holness.
The trucks, which were supplied by the Tank-Weld Group, have a capacity of approximately 5,000 gallons of water and are equipped with front and rear watering, overhead spray, and side pipe features.
The units will be deployed across the NWC’s six regions. An eighth unit purchased is expected to be handed over to the NWC shortly.
Prime Minister Holness, in his address, said with the addition of the trucks to the NWC’s fleet, the entity is now able to provide emergency water supply to critical institutions, including hospitals, health centres, police stations, and schools.
He noted that the acquisitions are consistent with the Government’s mandate to build the resilience of Jamaica’s critical services.
“The NWC must always have the capacity to deliver water if there is a break in service, whether it is a mechanical break or systems break or, as we are experiencing now in some areas, drought or turbidity. We expect that going forward, the NWC must maintain the capacity to deliver water if there is a break in regular service,” the prime minister said.
Holness said the decision to allocate capital resources to purchase the trucks represents the Government’s investment in this vital resource, noting that “the NWC, in order for it to be a true and effective utility, must have the capacity to respond in emergencies”.
Minister without portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, Senator Matthew Samuda, said the increase in the NWC’s capacity “will allow us to be responsive to the needs of citizens and responsive to the needs of businesses”.
“There will be disruptions [in supply], but we will be better able to respond because of this investment,” he said.
Prime Minister Andrew Holness examines the features inside the cabin of one of seven new water trucks purchased for the National Water Commission (NWC). Presenting the unit’s key to is NWC President Mark Barnett. (Photo: JIS)
Chairman of the NWC, Michael Shaw, who noted the eastern section of the island (Portland, St Thomas, and Clarendon) is now experiencing turbidity due to the recent severe weather that affected Jamaica, pointed out that the trucks are a short-term solution while NWC continues work to provide all homes islandwide with access to potable water.
“It is hoped that these trucks will help to alleviate the demand for water when we have adverse water conditions. While there are challenges right across the island, we do have a strategic plan to alleviate the challenges we have in this country,” he said.
By Rochelle Williams, JIS News