BRIDGETOWN, Barbados – An improved water supply is in the pipeline for nearly 100,000 Jamaicans under a programme approved for US$30 million in funding from the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB). The bank’s board of directors authorised CDB’s funding for the programme at their meeting on Thursday, December 10.
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 programme will also fund the installation of catchment and wayside tanks in various communities and rainwater harvesting systems at schools and institutions in other locations.
CDB has approved a US$30 million loan to the government of Jamaica from the bank’s special funds resources. The programme, which will be executed by Jamaica’s Rural Water Supply Limited, will cost an estimated US$36.2 million in total.
“Access to clean, safe and affordable water is a fundamental human right essential for public health, and social and economic development” emphasised O’Reilly Lewis, Division chief of CDB’s economic infrastructure division.
Water supply challenges, including frequent outages, low pressure and inconsistent quality, have significantly affected many rural communities in Jamaica, making them some of the most water-stressed areas of the island. The programme seeks to upgrade inadequate and aged water infrastructure, as well as improve the management and operations of these systems.
The upgraded infrastructure will be designed to mitigate the negative impacts of climate variability and change. The programme will provide an efficient, reliable and sustainable supply of potable water to the selected communities, home to just under 100,000 residents.
“Reliable water access is especially important for low income households as it reduces the time used to collect water – 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,” added Lewis.