100,000 rural residents across Jamaica to benefit
The Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) has approved funding to the tune of US$30 million for Jamaica to improve water supplies across the country.
It is estimated that some 100,000 Jamaicans will benefit from improved water supplies under the water improvement programme. The programme seeks to upgrade seven water systems in a number of rural communities in the parishes of St Mary, Trelawny, St Ann, Clarendon, St Thomas and St Elizabeth.
The CDB loan to Jamaica will also extend to financing the installation of catchment and wayside tanks in various communities and rainwater harvesting systems at schools and institutions in other locations. The funding for the programme is coming from the bank’s Special Funds Resources.
Programme critical to the people of Jamaica
The project, which will be executed by Jamaica’s Rural Water Supply Limited, will cost an estimated US$36.2 million in total with the balance being provided by the Government of Jamaica.
The programme is seen as critical to the people of Jamaica given water supply challenges such as frequent outages, low pressure and inconsistent quality have significantly affected many rural communities across Jamaica. This has been particularly burdensome for some of the most water-stressed areas of the island.
However, this project is geared towards putting in place remedial action, which includes upgrading inadequate and aged water infrastructure while at the same time improving the management and operations of these water systems. The upgraded infrastructure will be designed to mitigate the negative impacts of climate variability and change.
This is expected to result in an efficient, reliable and sustainable supply of potable water to the selected communities, home to just under 100,000 residents. Commenting on the programme, Chief of the CDB’s Economic Infrastructure Division, O’Reilly Lewis highlighted that the bank is pleased to be financing Jamaica’s water improvement programme adding that, “access to clean, safe and affordable water is a fundamental human right essential for public health, and social and economic development.”
Move towards universal access to water
He stated that reliable water access is especially important for low-income households as it reduces the time used to collect water, which is a task often borne by women and children and which can stymie social and economic well-being.
“This project will get the country closer to the government’s stated goal of achieving universal access to potable water by 2030,” the CDB’s Economic Infrastructure Division chief explained.