THE National Water Commission (NWC) says illegal connections to its transmission main by criminals are responsible for the inconsistent supply affecting residents of Kennedy Grove housing scheme in Clarendon.

The water management agency was responding to a story in last Wednesday’s Jamaica Observer reporting the residents’ frustration at the problem which, they said, was affecting their hygiene and sanitation efforts.

“We are active NWC customers, but we would only get water on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays. In March there was a message from NWC that a pump was out and so we didn’t get any water for two weeks. It then came back [for a short time],” a female resident who asked not to be named, had told the Observer.

“Now we are noticing that when it comes it doesn’t stay for long and there is no ‘pressure’, added the woman, who said her frustration grew when her attempts to get answers from the NWC were unsuccessful.

“I contacted NWC by both online chat and their local office, but all I got were reference numbers, because when I told them I had gotten one reference number already, they still gave me another one. Nothing has changed,” she said.

The resident also alleged that ganja farmers were hijacking the water supply in the area.

“There is an [allegation] that people are cultivating marijuana and so they cut the main line to divert water to their fields,” she said.

While the NWC did not state specifically who had tapped into its transmission main, the agency said its investigation uncovered that “the disruptions originated from the acts of criminal elements” who had connected pipes to its six-inch transmission main at several points in the heavily forested areas that the pipeline traverses.

According to the NWC, its regional manager for Clarendon and St Catherine, Garwaine Johnson reported that his team made checks on Thursday, May 13, 2021, following several complaints from customers, and found more than 500 metres of one-inch illegal pipelines.

The agency said, while no individual was identified for prosecution, the team removed “at least 10 major illegal connection points” in an operation “that will save thousands of gallons in potential losses”.

Johnson reported that the team had to seek support from the security forces as the initial steps to remove the illegal connections were thwarted by the threat of criminal elements in the area.

“The situation was further compounded by the extremely rough terrain which is mostly accessible by foot,” the agency said.

It insisted that there has been no delay nor negligence in its response to the water supply outages that have affected Kennedy Grove and its environs.

The agency also said that based on the coordinated efforts, regular water supply has been restored to most customers in Kennedy Grove.

Johnson also said that, notwithstanding the challenges, “The NWC remains resolute in its mission to supply water despite the scourge of illegal elements.”

 

Jamaica Observer