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Developer's Guide


NWC’s role in the development projects approval process

The NWC does not approve development projects. Approvals are the responsibility of the respective Parish Councils, the Kingston and St. Andrew Corporation (KSAC), the Portmore Municipality and the National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA). Under the law, the NWC approves water and sewerage proposals in Kingston and St. Andrew, and makes recommendations to the other local authorities and NEPA, where asked, in respect of the other parishes.

However, since water is an essential need of every development or subdivision, every development is required to indicate how it proposes to meet those needs. NWC, the premier water and sewerage service provider in Jamaica, is therefore usually involved in the development approval process:

  1. To advise on the availability of water and/or sewerage service from its systems to a contemplated development, sub-division or construction project; and/or
  2. To regulate the interface between an existing NWC water supply and/or sewerage system and a new or proposed system.

Development Approval Process.


Applications for land development or subdivision approvals must be submitted to the respective Local Authority. They may also, in tandem, be submitted to NWC and addressed to:

The Chief Engineer
National Water Commission
4 Marescaux Road
Kingston 5

Applications are submitted on a Subdivision Application Form (available from the Local Authorities) in duplicate for water and sewerage services along with all other required documents to start the process. Requirements may vary slightly according to subdivision size and specific features. Documents submitted must show the location and layout of the development, the water and sewer networks, hydrant locations endorsed by the Fire Department, and an Engineering Report - prepared by a Professional Engineer who is registered with the Professional Engineers Registration Board (PERB) with experience in water supply and sewerage design - for all complex or large developments (more than 30 lots).

Details of application requirements are outlined in the NWC Developers’ Guide and are available at NWC offices. Submissions should include 3 hard copies and 1 digital copy of the subdivision plan.

Where required, the Engineering Report must include a proposal to supply the development with sufficient potable water, inclusive of water for firefighting purposes and ensuring maximum and minimum services pressures with the relevant design calculations.

The NWC needs only to be involved in respect of sewerage services for a development where:

  • The dwelling, subdivision or development is within 90 meters (100 yards) of an NWC sewerage system and the developer is required by law to connect to the NWC system and pay sewerage rates; or,
  • It is proposed that the NWC will own, operate and maintain the system after it has been built, commissioned and handed over free of cost.
  • Significant expansion, remodeling or change of use at a premises served by the NWC’s Sewerage System that may result in increased sewage flows.

In addition to other technical details, NWC’s evaluation of a submission will be mainly focused on:

  • The capacity of the existing water supply source(s) and/or existing sewage treatment;
  • Capacity of the existing water supply infrastructure and/or the existing sewerage infrastructure;
  • Average and peak water demands of the existing customers and served areas;
  • Average and peak water demands of proposed development;
  • Commitments to supply other approved proposed development from the said sewerage supply system within the last 24 months.

In all cases the NWC reserves the right to request an Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) to determine the impact of the development on the local aquifers and surface water.

Where all the required information is submitted, NWC aims at providing a response within 28 days of receiving an application. As required by law, a Certificate of Approval (or a Letter of Refusal) signed by the Chairman of the NWC Board of Commissioners is sent to NEPA and/or directly to the applicant along with the conditions for approval at the end of the process.

Processing Sub-division Applications at NWC


Further details are contained in “The National Water Commission Developers’ Guide”, the shorter “Developers’ Handbook”, and “Impact Fees: NWC’s Facilitating Role in Jamaica’s Development Process” among other documents. Copies of these documents can be obtained from any NWC Commercial Office at a small cost.

These documents are aimed at preventing problems for both existing and potential customers of the NWC, as well as at helping developers to implement development plans in a technically sound manner with respect to water and sewerage service needs.

NWC Developers Guide Brochure