High Pressure Pumps Boost Water Over Hilly Jamaican Terrain

April 9, 2002

About the author: For further information, contact Goulds Pumps at 315-255-3378.

Jamaica is the third largest island in the Caribbean. It is 144 miles long and 49 miles wide, it is self-sufficient, with major industries based on tourism, agriculture and Bauxite mining. It is also very hilly and mountainous — which complicates infrastructure development, especially with water supply systems.

In a municipal water supply application in Jamaica, ITT Industries’ Goulds Pumps unit is supplying the pumps and the expertise to improve aging and inadequate water supply infrastructure. These new water supply projects will improve the health of the customers served there by providing clean, potable water.

According to a World Health Organization Study and UNICEF, only 59 percent of the rural population in Jamaica has access to clean, potable water. This contrasts with 81 percent in urban settings on the island.

In the Parish of Westmoreland, on the southwestern cost of Jamaica, there is a population of approximately 135,000 in need of a water system upgrade. To improve the deteriorating water supply situation in this rural area, the National Water Commission of Jamaica has begun construction of the Darliston Water Supply System — a major effort to improve the water supply in the parish.

According to Abe Hernandez, international sales manager for Goulds’ Texas Turbine Pump operation, “They needed to revamp water supplies to an area that had insufficient water supply because of very old and inefficient equipment.” In addition, more people were moving to this area, so the demands on the water supply system were steadily increasing.

The National Water Commission of Jamaica had hired an engineering firm, Carib Engineering, to do the design work on this water project. Carib Engineering specializes in determining the future needs of infrastructure systems, taking into account the long term development of the area to be served. Once Carib Engineering designs and oversees the construction of the water project, the Jamaican Water Commission takes over the existing facilities.

The products specified by the engineering firm were to be all vertical turbines. Because this rural area is so hilly, with the need to boost water over steep hills and small mountains, the only practical pumps for this job were vertical turbines, which produce more pressure than horizontal pumps.

“The engineering firm, being focused on the future requirements of the customer, needed to specify a pump that took into account the total cost of ownership,” Henandez noted. Because of the high cost of generating power on an island nation where most energy must be transported to the island, the high energy efficiencies of the Goulds vertical turbine pumps were valued by the National Water Commission.

The Goulds vertical turbine pumps were used in three pumping stations to take the water out of the ground and boost it over the hills. The Plant Pump Station installed four VIT-14RJMC/14 Stages pumps, with one spare. The “14 Stages” in the pump designation refers to the number of impellers in the vertical unit. That station also got one spare pump, same model. The Whithorn Pumping Station received four VIT-FT14NJM/12 Stages pumps with one spare. The last station, named the Caledonia Pumping Station, installed four VIC-T 14RJMC/10 Stages pumps with one spare pump.

Now this area of Jamaica can depend on having good quality, high pressure drinking water for the foreseeable future. Because this locale is a prime spot for the development of tourism, the vertical turbine pumps are helping the local economy and inhabitants by providing clean water as well as a key piece of the infrastructure needed for sustainable development.

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