Thu | Apr 25, 2019

NWC still committed to new treatment plant in Content, St Catherine

Published:Monday | January 21, 2019 | 12:00 AMPaul Clarke/Gleaner Writer
Buchanan

The National Water Commission (NWC) is hoping that negotiations with an undisclosed partner reaches a satisfactory conclusion for the utility company to start work this year on the construction of a new 15-million imperial-gallon-per-day water-treatment plant in Content, St Catherine.

Its distribution capacity will be similar to that of the Mona treatment plant.

"We are still in negotiations with a private entity. However, negotiations have been going rather slowly, though," said Charles Buchanan, corporate public relations manager of the NWC.

He said that the utility company is hoping for an agreement that is satisfactory to both sides.

"It's just the process and the nature of financing arrangements (public-private partnership - PPP) that's slowing the agreement. It is also the extensive internal government process that the NWC has to go through," Buchanan explained.

 

20-YEAR PLAN

 

This is a 20-year public-private partnership arrangement to finance, build and operate the Rio Cobre water-treatment plant.

The water will be sold to the NWC via a water-purchase agreement. Negotiations are advanced. The project will cost approximately US$60 million.

To date, agreement has been reached on the PPP structure, acquisition of lands, financing and payment mechanism, while the regulatory endorsements, non-objections and approvals have also been received.

The negotiation report is currently being compiled for submission to the Privatisation Enterprise Team.

Coupled with the vast upgrade to the water transmission lines now being undertaken in sections of the Corporate Area, this new treatment plant in Content, when completed, will make service to communities in sections of Spanish Town, Portmore, and the western parts of Kingston and St Andrew more efficient.

"It's a long process, yes, but we are anticipating that when the project is brought to life, the results will give Portmore, Spanish Town, and other areas lots more water. Residents will then be pleased with the service," Buchanan said.

"In addition to that, it will also provide a level of resilience against drought conditions, as its source, the Rio Cobre, continues to give constant supply," he noted.

paul.clarke@gleanerjm.com