The Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation is set to earmark seven billion dollars towards the upgrade of Jamaica’s water infrastructure during the fiscal year 2023/2024, which is the largest investment to be made by the sector to date.
Mathew Samuda, minister without portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation said that the figure is a significant increase over the four billion dollars worth of investment made last year.
Samuda made the announcement on Tuesday (February 28) during the Caribbean Maritime University (CMU) inaugural Port Royal Lecture Series at the institution’s Palisadoes Park campus in Kingston.
“It is all-island. It is more capital works than have been ever done, certainly in my lifetime. It will benefit citizens in every part of the country,” he said.
The upgrading works, being undertaken by the National Water Commission (NWC), include building additional storage for increased capacity, energy optimisation, replacing decaying pipelines for improved distribution, and reducing non-revenue water.
Noting that Jamaica’s cyclical drought seasons are exacerbated by the impact of climate change, Samuda said these engagements will create greater resilience and further strengthen Jamaica’s water sector.
“In 2016, 71 per cent of our water collected, stored and processed was either leaked or stolen. So, building up our resilient network is absolutely critical, and we are well on our way in that space,” he stated.