More water trucks coming

THE National Water Commission (NWC) has upgraded its fleet with eight water trucks, aiming to provide more potable water across the island in times of need.

Speaking at the handover ceremony for water trucks at NWC’s complex on Marescaux Road in St Andrew on Tuesday, the State entity’s President Mark Barnett said the vehicles will be in operation as soon as the proper licences are sorted.

“The trucks can be in operation but we choose not to put them out just yet; we normally ensure that they have [a] commercial licence. Right now they are privately licensed but because it is for a commercial purpose, we will be going through Transport Authority and have those licences arrangements,” he told the Jamaica Observer.

“As soon as that is completed they will be up and running, but in the event there is an urgent need we will use the truck to satisfy that need because they have already been sterilised,” he informed.

The trucks, which have a capacity of approximately five gallons each, were supplied by the Tank-Weld Group at a cost of $105 million. They will be deployed to NWC’s six regions.

Additionally, the trucks are expected to respond to water issues at police stations, hospitals, schools, nurseries and other critical public service infrastructure.

Prime Minister Andrew Holness said while he is pleased that the trucks will help to improve the service of the NWC, resources are still limited.

“It is not enough. The NWC needs about three times that to be able to respond effectively as a utility service provider; there is no utility that doesn’t have a back-up plan. The NWC must always have the capacity to deliver water if there is a break in service — whether it is a mechanical break or a systems break or, as we are experiencing now in some areas, a drought or turbidity,” he said at the ceremony.

“We expect that, going forward, the policy will be that the NWC must maintain the capacity to deliver water if there is a break in regular service. The Government of Jamaica allocated and provided these resources for the NWC, the NWC must manage and maintain them. But the NWC, in its manning, must also create a capital fund that is continuously replenishing so that when these trucks are depreciating to obsolescence they will be replaced without coming back to the Government for the capital,” the prime minister cautioned.

Holness said the aim for the entity is to have one water truck for each parish, along with one or two water trucks assigned to parish councils.

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