My Thoughts on Technology and Jamaica: Water Wastage at MICO - How Waste Water Recycling and Rainwater Harvesting benefits Agriculture

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Water Wastage at MICO - How Waste Water Recycling and Rainwater Harvesting benefits Agriculture

If there was any proof that the NWC (National Water Commission) pipe system needed a serious overhaul, this incident proved it quite dramatically on Wednesday September 24th 2015!

While I was away on the MICO University College Campus hard at work on my Reflection for my CABM (Counseling Approach for Behaviour Management), the National Water Commission (NWC) Stanton Terrace pipeline finally burst after years of neglect as reported in the article “Burst Pipes Send Water In The Air Stripping Powerlines In Swallowfield Community”, published Thursday September 24, 2015, The Jamaica Gleaner.  

The Stanton Terrace pipeline ruptured at around 3pm on Wednesday September 24th 2015, sending water gushing out of a gaping hole in the Swallowfield community as shown below.

This sent water rushing down the Roosvelet Avenue road, also known as Herb Mckinley Drive, the same road that carries you down to the Bob Marley Statue just before you reach the National Stadium on Arthur Wint Drive.

Water also shot up in the air, spraying water on the power lines within the Swallowfield Community, causing them to arch and the insulation to ignite with fiery sparks, burning off in the reaction!

Residents in the community of Swallowfield, where I reside, could only stand and watch helplessly as good water went to waste even as they faced daily lock-offs, sometimes for the entire day.

This at a time when the Mona Reservoir, the source of water in Kingston, is at 21% capacity, which is seen as being critically low!

NWC Water Main burst because pipes are too old – Why Water Lock-off a bad policy in the long term

The cause?

Old pipes that have not been repaired for some time or have been broken and repair numerous times. Like a chain with a lot of weak links, this pipe just couldn't handle the fluctuations in water pressure as the NWC turned the water on and off, so it finally gave way.

The NWC has since locked off the water main to effect repairs to the Stanton Terrace pipeline as per this tweet via NWC’s Twitter account.

To quote NWC's Corporate Public Relations Manager, Charles Buchanan: “In a situation of drought where your system is operating under very abnormal conditions with widely fluctuating pressure levels in different segments of the network, you are going to have these instances, but the alternative is that most of the areas would be without water, because you simply won't do anything to ensure that the water get to them”.

So water lock-off cannot be a long term response to the Drought, as if this continues, more weakened pipes from frequent repair will be ruptured in a similar dramatic manner.

This is all the more reason for the Government of Jamaica to implement Waste Water Recycling to convert water from Sewage Works into potable and drinkable water as I'd argued in my blog article entitled “Water Shortage at MICO - How I'm dealing with the Water Shortage in Kingston”.

So aside from replacing the pipes yet again, what are the long-term solutions that the NWC and the GOJ could pursue?

Waste Water Recycling and Rainwater Harvesting – Why Water Resource independence can also benefit farming

Waste Water Recycling and Rainwater Harvesting are the best long-term solution, as it would recapture and reuse water that would otherwise go down the toilet. Even better would be if Jamaican households had Waste Water Recycling systems that converted Waste Water from their kitchen sinks and toilets back to drinkable water.

After all, once you use the water, it goes into the Earth, which filter it into underground aquifers and rivers. Assuming it doesn’t absorb any Rare Earth Metals from the Riverton City Dump, this water is the very same water that flows into the Mona Reservoir and ends up being processed into drinking water by the NWC.

This water may also pick up fecal matter from the River as well. But due to the low turbidity of the water and the natural filtering effect of the River as well as organic life that feast on this material, what little is left can be easily remove by the NWC Water processing.

So by practicing Waste Water Recycling, we basically cut out the long natural process for a quicker recovery of this precious commodity. Ditto too Rainwater Harvesting, as again as the water already falls from the skies, all that’s needed is an activated Carbon Filter, additives to remove Calcium Carbonate that causes hardness from the Water and an Ozone Sparging Unit to kill bacteria and make it potable and thus drinkable.

We already completed test-run of Electronic Waste Recycling under a NSWMA (National Solid Waste Management) E-Waste Collection Pilot Project in a bid to recover Rare Earth Metals before this happens as explained in my blog article entitled “NSWMA's E-Waste Collection Pilot Project - Why End-of-life Policy for E-Waste Collection needed in Jamaica”.

Therefore an islandwide Waste Water Recycling Project is needed to recycle Waster Water as well. Combined with Rainwater Harvesting, this would potentially alleviate the dependence on the NWC in much the same way Solar Panels help Jamaicans to get of JPS Co (Jamaica Public Service Company) Electricity Grid.

In the long term too, it would better insulate Jamaica against future droughts as Global Warming is now a global reality since 2014 as reported in my blog article entitled “JMA, @NASA and @NOAA say 2014 Hottest Year on Record - How Wageningen University revealed Humans causing Climate Change”.

Potentially too, the organic sludge can also be purified and used as fertilizer, as its rich in phosphorus and Nitrates.  Some of it could even be converged to BioGas and use to power the JUTC Buses, being a the composition of BioGas, which is rich in methane, is similar to Natural Gas as explained in my blog article entitled “GENeco Bio-Bus runs on Bio-Methane - How 10% of UK's Heating from Human Organic Waste Alone makes Shit worthwhile as GOJ Bio-Fuel Revolution needed”.

So the Agriculture sector could also benefit from lower cost Fertilizer, as we literally produce all the fertilizer we’ll ever need. All that's needed is a change in the National mindset and the removal of that psychological barrier against drinking recycled Waste Water, as Water is Life!

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