Water Commission to Construct Billion Dollar Groundwater Recharge System

The National Water Commission, NWC, today signed a contract for a $1billion dollar artificial groundwater recharge system to be constructed in Innswood, St. Catherine.

NWC Chairman, Prakash Vaswani, says the project is part of attempts at managing the island’s water resources.

Dennis Brooks reports on the significance of the project against the background of the prolonged dry spell affecting the country

Mr. Vaswani notes that the NWC has been working tirelessly to abstract, treat and distribute potable water in a sustainable manner both under normal and extreme conditions.

Mr. Vaswani says the groundwater recharge project should be seen as an indication of some of the sustainable changes to be undertaken.

Country Representative for the Inter-American Development Bank, IDB, Therese Turner-Jones, who signed on behalf of the IDB, says her institution was pleased to support important developmental projects like the groundwater recharge project.

She congratulated the NWC and the Government on the project and urged its speedy completion.

And Water Minister, Robert Pickersgill, stated that not only was the project timely within the context of the prevailing drought conditions, but that it’s also critical to the achievement of the Vision 2030 goals.

He says the project will be geared at meeting, protecting and sustaining the potable water supply resources of large sections of St Catherine and the Corporate Area of Kingston and St. Andrew.

Minister Pickersgill outlined that the project will involve constructing raw-water intake structures, installing 2 kilometres of pipelines, construction of inlet structures to two infiltration wells and three sinkholes.

Constructing a raw water treatment facility capable of treating eight million gallons per day, and generally establishing facilities to increase the groundwater quantity and quality in the lower Rio Cobre limestone aquifer in the St. Catherine plains.

The Water Minister says project benefits include the potential for an increase in revenue from the additional water available to supply customers.

The sustainable abstraction of approximately 3.5 million gallons per day from nearby wells.

And the alleviation of water shortages and restrictions during the dry season.

The Groundwater Recharge Project is funded by the NWC through a loan from the IDB.

Contractor for the project is M&M Jamaica Limited, while Rural Water Supply Limited will play
the role of supervising consultants.