Nearly 100,000 Jamaicans are poised to benefit from improved water supply, under a major project to be executed with funding support of US$30 million from the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB).
The loan was approved for allocation from the Bank’s Special Resources Funds to the Government of Jamaica, by the CDB’s Board of Directors during their meeting on December 10.
A CDB statement indicated that the project, to be spearheaded by Rural Water Supply Limited (RWSL), will target upgrades of seven systems serving rural communities in six parishes, at an overall estimated cost of US $36.2 million.
These are situated in St Thomas, St Mary, Clarendon, St Ann, St Elizabeth, and Trelawny.
The project will also entail the installation of catchment and wayside tanks, and rainwater harvesting systems at schools and institutions.
According to the CDB, these inputs are intended to address water supply challenges resulting from power outages, low pressure, and inconsistent quality.
As such, the project is intended to upgrade inadequate and aged water infrastructure, as well as improve the management and operations of the targeted systems.
In so doing, the project will provide an efficient, reliable and sustainable supply of potable water to the target beneficiaries, while helping to mitigate the negative impacts of climate variability and change.
Head of the CDB’s Economic Infrastructure Division, O’Reilly Lewis, noted that access to clean, safe and affordable water is a “fundamental human right, essential for public health and social and economic development”.
“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,” he added.