Minister of Water, Land, Environment and Climate Change, Hon. Robert Pickersgill, has welcomed the entry of new pipes into the market, which will provide the National Water Commission (NWC), and other agencies with a wider array of ways to reduce losses from non-revenue water.The Minister was speaking on Thursday, May 30, at the launch and exhibition of eZeeflow PPR HDPE Pipes and Fittings, a collaboration of Patrick Commodities Limited, and Gobal Hardware Inc, at the Spanish Court Hotel in Kingston.Pointing out that some 65 per cent of the water produced and distributed by the NWC is non-revenue, due to illegal connections, leakage, and commercial losses, Mr. Pickersgill said a part of stopping this “haemorrhaging, is a pipe network which is hardy, resistant, and long-lasting.”“I am not in a position to endorse any one product…but I welcome the choices available to our water agencies, particularly the NWC, which is seeking to upgrade and expand its infrastructure this financial year, at a cost of approximately $10 billion,” he told the gathering.Mr. Pickersgill said the expansion and diversification of the market for pipes was necessary, due to the country’s aging water infrastructure.“I am advised that the new pipes being introduced represent a revolutionary new technology that holds the promise of bringing more alternative choices for the water sector as well as the water infrastructure network, which is so critical to the delivery of potable water and sewerage services throughout the island,” he said.The Minister informed that investigations are being done, and measures being implemented to improve distribution, and reduce non-revenue water.“In the future, this will include the implementation of a Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition/Integrated Water Management System (SCADA/IWMS), which will improve NWC’s operations and maintenance capacity,” he explained.He noted that the deterioration of water and sewerage systems and non-revenue water is set against the background of increasing demands in water deficient areas.However, the Minister stressed that Government is addressing these issues, and will continue to strive to meet the growing needs of rural and urban populations, by continuing to improve and expand these water and sewerage infrastructure to increase access to potable water from 73 per cent to 85 per cent by 2017.Pipes, he said, are a crucial element of improving the infrastructure network, to meet this target.Poly Propylene Random Co-Polymer (PPR) is considered ‘food grade,’ lead free material, which can be used in major water distribution networks. These are used in a thermal fusion socket welding technique, which is cost effective, and fully leakage proof.Contact: Alphea Saunders
Officials from the 33 Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) member nations across the Americas will converge in Montego Bay, St. James, from March 5 to 8 for the 35th Session of the FAO Regional Conference for Latin America and the Caribbean.The event will take place at the Montego Bay Conference Centre in Rose Hall.The three-day meeting is expected to attract ministers of agriculture, social development, education, health and environment and other high-level officials to discuss challenges and priority matters related to food and agriculture.It will focus on four main areas – eradicating hunger, overweight and obesity; ending rural poverty; promoting climate resilient and sustainable agriculture; and creating a new FAO to move towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).Minister of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. Karl Samuda said that Jamaica is happy to be hosting the regional conference.“I think this is a signal honour to Jamaica, because Jamaica is on the right path, and we have the measures that are important to move agriculture forward in our entire region,” he said.“We welcome this opportunity, and we look forward to this tremendous exchange where the conference will give all of our colleague agricultural ministers and other very distinguished people from the Caribbean and Latin American region the opportunity to put on the agenda the concerns that they have, the ways in which they are approaching them, the strategies they think can assist, and the extent to which the FAO can be of help,” he added.FAO Representative for Jamaica, The Bahamas and Belize, Dr. Gillian Smith, said that this year’s staging is particularly important, because the region is at a crossroads in terms of food security.Information provided by the FAO indicates that hunger has risen in Latin America and the Caribbean for the first time in decades, reaching 42.5 million, while obesity affects 96 million people.Dr. Smith said that in addition to the rise in hunger and chronic non-communicable diseases, “climate change is affecting and exacerbating the issues that are related to our agricultural productivity and our production, and affecting the diversity of rural livelihoods that are available to our people”.She noted that the organisation remains committed to collaborating with the people and the Government of Jamaica “to address fundamental issues relating to the country’s national development in the areas of food and nutrition, agriculture, rural development, fisheries, forestry, decent employment and social protection”. It will focus on four main areas – eradicating hunger, overweight and obesity; ending rural poverty; promoting climate resilient and sustainable agriculture; and creating a new FAO to move towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The three-day meeting is expected to attract ministers of agriculture, social development, education, health and environment and other high-level officials to discuss challenges and priority matters related to food and agriculture. Story Highlights Officials from the 33 Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) member nations across the Americas will converge in Montego Bay, St. James, from March 5 to 8 for the 35th Session of the FAO Regional Conference for Latin America and the Caribbean.