The St. Catherine-based Enid Bennett High School is expecting savings of up to 50 percent on its annual water bill from the establishment of a $7-million rainwater harvesting system.
Installed by Rural Water Supply Limited (RWSL), the system comprises four 1,000-gallon black tanks, a 20,000-gallon block and steel tank, a solar-powered pump, and other features to harvest and store water.
Speaking at a ceremony on the school grounds on Tuesday (October 8) to officially commission the system into service, Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, Pearnel Charles Jr., said that the harvesting facility “will go a long way in making the school water-secure”.
He noted that the bathrooms and kitchen will be retrofitted with water-saving fixtures in order to conserve on the use of the commodity.
The minister said that while the provision of infrastructure is critical, “the change of attitude towards the use of water is very important, as the commodity must be preserved”.
“There needs to be a complete turnaround in how we use the resource if the structures that we put in are to be maximised,” he added.
Senator Charles Jr., who has responsibility for Water, Housing and Infrastructure, commended the work of the RWSL, noting that in recent years, the entity has provided approximately 40 water solutions for schools, health facilities, infirmaries, and communities across the island.
These include guttering, storage facilities, and other associated infrastructure to enhance the collection and use of rainwater.
Member of Parliament for North Central St. Catherine, Natalie Neita, in her remarks, welcomed the water-harvesting system, noting that it will cater to the school’s long-term water needs.
“This project, I believe, is an awesome one, because it is pointing the way in ensuring that we conserve [water] for the benefit of our population,” she said.
Principal of Enid Bennett High, Patrick Phillips, for his part, said “it is good that we now have a water-harvesting project where we will not be short of water”.
He informed that the system will also provide water for the school’s farm and playfield.