NWC to explore reactivating several unused wells

Kingston, Jamaica (JIS) — The National Water Commission (NWC) is looking at reactivating several of its unused wells, as part of short-term measures to alleviate the impact of the prevailing drought.

This is deemed a viable option to provide additional water, given the critically low levels in reservoirs serving various communities.

According to Water, Land, Environment, and Climate Change Minister Robert Pickersgill this alternative has already been tried and proven successful, with the treatment of water in the Ballater Avenue well in St Andrew, owned by Tallawah Investments, using the de-nitrification and chlorination process.

This well, he said, is capable of providing over one million gallons of water per day for domestic and commercial/industrial use.

“Based on the success of this private/public partnership, the NWC is positioning itself to encourage more private sector investment in the water sector. To this end, Expressions of Interest have already been invited,” he said.

The , minister was speaking at a press conference on July 1, at the offices of the National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA) in Kingston, to provide an update on plans to mitigate the drought.

Pickersgill said the NWC is seeking to source and channel additional water from several wells in the Corporate Area into the distribution network, as soon as possible.

These wells include those located at: Rennock Lodge, Montgomery Corner, Hampstead, Cockburn Pen, and Trench Town.

“Additional treatment will be undertaken to ensure that the water supplied conforms to public health standards. We estimate that approximately 5 million gallons per day of additional water will be produced to augment existing supplies,” the minister said.

Meanwhile, the NWC is reporting that as at June 29, the storage level at the Mona Reservoir was 32.8 per cent, or 264.8 million gallons, out of a capacity of 808.5 million gallons.

Inflows from the Yallahs River have fallen from 17 million gallons per day to five million gallons per day, while the Hope River’s inflow has declined from 15 million gallons per day to virtually zero.

“As at June 29, the storage level at the Hermitage Dam was at 173.8 million gallons, or 44.2 per cent out of a capacity of 393.5 million gallons. Inflow from the Ginger River is almost nil, while the Wagwater and Morsham Rivers that also feed the Hermitage Dam have declined to 4.7 million gallons per day. At the best of times, the inflow would be 22 million gallons per day,” Pickersgill informed.

He also noted that the Hope treatment plant’s output has fallen to 3.7 million gallons per day, from six million gallons.

At the Mona treatment plant, production is down from 16 million gallons per day, to 7.1 million gallons, while the Constant Spring treatment plant’s output has declined to 5.4 million gallons per day from 20 million gallons.

“There has also been a reduction in output at a number of smaller treatment plants and supply systems in affected parishes,” the minister said.

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