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Water relief for Jamaicans


OBSERVER

Water relief for Jamaicans

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JAMAICANS who have been enduring severe water supply restrictions over several weeks will see some welcome changes as a result of the heavy showers across Kingston and St Andrew this past weekend.

The National Water Commission (NWC) yesterday said that droughtrelated restrictions were being lifted with immediate effect due to increased inflows and storage levels at the Seaview and Hermitage/Constant Spring water supply systems.

The NWC also said that it is relaxing restrictions to allow for 10-12 hours of supply daily during the course of this week from the Mona and Hope water supply systems.

“Without doubt, we have seen some improvement in the inflows and storage levels,” an upbeat NWC Corporate Communications Manager Charles Buchanan told the Jamaica Observer yesterday.

The Meteorological Service has reported that a trough over the central Caribbean and Jamaica has been responsible for the showers over the weekend.

Yesterday, the NWC said the heavy rains since Friday have resulted in improvements in the watersheds,increased inflows into the various sources and increased storage levels.

According to the agency, the weekend rains have increased the storage levels at Hermitage Dam from 69 per cent to 100 per cent, but the Mona Reservoir has only increased by 10 per cent from 25 per cent.

Levels had previously dropped to as low as 20 and 25 per cent at both reservoirs. Customers served by the Mona Reservoir have been receiving water as far apart as every two days over the past several weeks, with some complaining of not having water for the majority of the week.

Meanwhile, the NWC said the heavy rainfall in the Corporate Area did not extend to much of St Thomas, Portland, St Mary, and St Ann, and that supply arrangements in these parishes would therefore not be adjusted. At the same time, the rains did some amount of damage to the road network across the parishes of St Andrew, St Thomas, St Catherine, and Kingston.

“Fifty road sections have been impacted, with the worst in terms of impact on traffic being the east-bound carriageway of a section of the Mandela Highway,” National Works Agency (NWA) Communications Manager Stephen Shaw told the Observer, adding that remedial work is now being carried out.

He said all the corridors that had been made impassable have been reopened, but the NWA continues to maintain a presence in some areas, particularly in the hilly sections of St Thomas such as Hagley Gap and Danvers Pen, where there has been significant earth movements. Shaw said that at this point no communities have been marooned.

“Our first response is to have corridors opened to at least single-lane access. After that, we carry out an assessment, and then instructions will be given to the operational team as to how to go about treating the areas that are in critical need,” he explained.

But Shaw noted that while the works agency is trying to ensure at least single-lane traffic, this is not always possible depending on the corridor. (Observer)

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