$7 billion for water infrastructure projects
Capital projects, totalling $7 billion, have been programmed to upgrade Jamaica's water infrastructure during fiscal year 2023/24.
This represents the largest investment made in the sector to date, according to Minister Without Portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, Senator Matthew Samuda. He said the figure is a significant increase over the $4 billion worth of investment made last year.
Samuda was speaking during the Caribbean Maritime University inaugural Port Royal Lecture Series on Tuesday at the institution's Palisadoes Park campus in Kingston.
The upgrading works, being undertaken by the National Water Commission, includes building additional storage for increased capacity, energy optimisation, replacing decaying pipelines for improved distribution, and reducing non-revenue water.
"It is all-island. It is more capital works than have been ever done, certainly in my lifetime. It will benefit citizens in every part of the country," he told JIS News.
Noting that Jamaica's cyclical drought seasons are exacerbated by the impact of climate change, Samuda said these engagements will create greater resilience in and further strengthen Jamaica's water sector.
"In 2016, 71 per cent of our water collected, stored and processed was either leaked or stolen. So, building up our resilient network is absolutely critical, and we are well on our way in that space," he stated.