A water supply system was commissioned into service in the community of Top Aberdeen, St. Elizabeth, on Thursday (February 3) by Rural Water Supply Limited (RWSL).
The project, spearheaded by the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development through the RWSL, was done at a cost of $110 million, funded by the Government.
The works included a newly constructed solar hybrid water pumping station, the installation of pipelines, and the construction of a water storage tank.
Residents must apply to the National Water Commission (NWC) for the connection of the water supply to their homes.
Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Hon. Desmond McKenzie, who addressed the ceremony, said the commissioning of the new water supply system is “tangible proof” of the Government’s commitment to providing increased access to the basic commodity.
“It also speaks to the recognition that all Jamaicans, not just in the big towns and the cities of Kingston of Montego Bay, must have access to water and that access to water is to improve the pursuit of prosperity, livelihoods and economic freedom for many communities which lack the basic commodity of water,” he noted.
The Minister commended Rural Water Supply Limited for the work it has been doing in improving citizens’ access to water.
“Most [times] it is the leaders that get the praise, but there are persons who have to implement the policies that we initiate, and I want to thank the team at Rural Water for an excellent job. They are a competent set of professionals…I want to thank them publicly for the job that they have been doing and will continue to do,” he said.
Mr. McKenzie also implored residents to ensure that they pay for their water supply when they get connected.
“When the NWC connects you to the system, make sure you pay the bill, and I don’t want anyone to say that the Member of Parliament gave you the water. It is important that I use this platform to say to you that the water is not free; it comes at a cost.
Remember, it’s your taxpayers’ money that helps to provide it, and you have an obligation to pay,” he said.
In an interview with JIS News after the ceremony, the Minister noted that the occasion was a momentous one, as the supply system boasts “the first hybrid and the largest solar pumping station in the country”.
“The community of over 1,600 persons and its environs will benefit significantly from this, as when the power goes out, people don’t have to collect the water from early. While it is out, they will still have access to running water, and that is very good,” he said.
Mr. McKenzie further informed that similar systems will be implemented in other communities.
Meanwhile, Member of Parliament for the area, Delroy Sloley, told JIS News that to encourage the residents to sign up for their supply in short order, the NWC will give the first 50 residents who apply a 50 per cent discount on their connection fee.