Residents of Top Hill and Retirement District in Malvern in St. Elizabeth, now have access to free potable water following the opening of two water shops in the areas.
Minister of Local Government and Community Development, Hon. Desmond McKenzie, officially opened the two facilities on Thursday, (October 3).
St. Elizabeth is the latest parish to benefit under the Government’s initiative to construct water shops as a way of addressing water shortage in parishes that traditionally suffer severe drought conditions.
The Top Hill facility was constructed at a cost of $8.9 million and will serve over 1500 residents in the community and its environs. The Retirement District Water Shop, was built at a cost of $9.7 million and will benefit of some 3000 residents.
The facilities will each provide 16,000 gallons of purified water on a daily basis.
Speaking at the opening ceremony in Retirement District, Minister McKenzie, said four more water shops are to be constructed in St. Elizabeth.
“Two more will be constructed and I hope that at least we can complete one more before the end of the calendar year. We are going down [to] Myersville and then we are going down to Tryall [District] in Junction with the other one,” Mr. McKenzie outlined.
“[Also] …commencing next year, we will build two additional shops in Pedro Plains and Brompton. You are getting an additional two, to make six of these facilities spread across the parish in areas that desperately need water supply,” he added.
Mr. McKenzie also informed that some $24 million will be provided to the St. Elizabeth Municipal Corporation, to purchase two new water trucks to service both water shops.
He also urged the residents to protect the facilities, stating that “this is an investment that you have made because it is your property tax money that has been used to construct [the facilities].”
Top Hill resident, Marilyn Thomas, also lauded the Government for the water shop concept. She said the facility is a wonderful addition to the community that is often plagued by drought conditions.
“This is very good, very nice. We [are] always looking [for] water. I feel happy about it for [now], we can get our water to drink,” she indicated.
The construction of the two water shops, makes it five such facilities opened by the Ministry in recent years. Two water shops are currently in operation in Manchester, while the other is located in Clarendon.