Article courtesy of Jamaica Observer | Shared as educational material| June 22, 2015 |
JAMAICA Labour Party (JLP caretaker for St Thomas Eastern, Delano Seiveright, wants an effective emergency water crisis plan to prevent a health crisis in St Thomas.
In a release Monday, Seiveright said that he was calling on the ministries of local government and community development and water, land, environment and climate change, as well as the National Water Commission to sit together and urgently structure an effective emergency plan to manage the water crisis in the area.
Seiveright said that this is needed to prevent a health crisis, and prevent the collapse of the remaining economic activities; given the fact that more persons are opting not to show up for work.
“As it now stands, the St Thomas Parish Council is without a single operating water truck. The NWC, on the other hand, has two trucks operating for the entire parish, which has a population of 100,000, and private contractors are not sufficiently engaged due, in part, to the outstanding monies owed to them,” he said.
Seiveright said that residents and businesses in and around districts in St Thomas Eastern are unable to access water, leading to much frustration.
He said that these areas include: Morant Bay, Nuts River, Dumfries, Church Corner, Lyssons, Johns Town, Arcadia, Pear Tree River, Port Morant, Leith Hall, Prospect, Retreat, Stokes Hall, Duckenfield, Dalvey, Hampton Court, Golden Grove, Winchester, Barking Lodge, Amity Hall, Sunning Hill, Rowlandsfield, Wheelerfield, Bath and surrounding communities.
He said that the drought conditions have worsened the “crisis-ridden” water supply in the constituency, making it, possibly, the worst affected area in Jamaica.
He said that, despite the abundance of potable water sources in St Thomas, the parish has always been plagued with the challenges of shortages and improper distribution.
He added that this is due, largely, to poor maintenance and the continuous degradation of piping infrastructure, intake facilities, treatment plants and pumping equipment.
Seiveright said that St Thomas, despite its abundance of water, is in need of a long-term water development plan.
He also noted that the Plantain Garden River has the capacity to produce eight million gallons per day (MGD), which is more than the average daily demand of 5.8 MGDs for the entire parish. However, he said that the Whitehall treatment plant, which obtains water from it, can only treat 0.3 MGDs of this water.