Jamaica Producers, Eppley join forces with French construction company on major water project

May 7, 2021

Food manufacturing and shipping conglomerate Jamaica Producers Group (JPG) and investment company Eppley are diversifying into the water production business, partnering with French construction and engineering company, Vinci Construction Grand Projects (VCGP).

The three companies are forming a Special Purpose Vehicle to design, build, finance, operate and maintain a 15-million imperial gallons of water per day treatment plant in Content, St Catherine.

The project, which is estimated to cost US$60-million (approximately J$9-billion), will run for an initial period of 25 years via a public-private partnership arrangement.

Once the project starts, the plant will be delivered in two years. Water produced by the plant will be sold to the National Water Commission (NWC) under a water purchase agreement.

Construction of the plant will start once the water purchase agreement is in place and signed off by the Ministry of Finance and the Office of Utilities Regulation. Minister without portfolio in the Ministry of Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation with responsibility for the water sector, Everald Warmington, confirmed that a water purchase agreement is being discussed by the parties.

Making his contribution to the 2021 Sectoral Debate in Parliament on Wednesday last, Warmington disclosed that the Cabinet of Jamaica considered the water purchase agreement to be executed between the NWC and the Special Purpose Vehicle. Once operational the plant is expected to bring about significant improvement to the reliability of water supply to Kingston and St Andrew.

In addition to improved delivery of high quality, reliable and continuous water supply service, the plant will service approximately 150,000 customers in the two parishes as well as Portmore and Spanish Town in St Catherine. It will also reduce the need for trucking and water restrictions to affected areas during periods of drought.

Warming told Parliament that this project has the potential for additional revenue for the NWC through the supply of water to existing and new committed or planned developments, where presently there is no NWC supply available. A case in point is the proposed Caymanas Economic Zone.

Warmington announced that the Central Wastewater Treatment Company Limited, which treats wastewater generated from Kingston and St Andrew, Caymanas Estate and sections of Portmore in St Catherine, has turned around from its loss making status.

Having incurred an operating loss of $70.8-million last year, the company is now reporting an unaudited operating profit of $248.5-million for the year ending March 31, 2021.

This increase in operating performance is due to the restructuring of one-third of the long-term loans, from interest only loans to amortized principal payments.

The Jamaica Observer at: https://bit.ly/3bja1DQ