Fri | Jul 3, 2020

Massive savings for NWC as utility plugs leaks

Published:Wednesday | June 3, 2020 | 12:28 AM

THE NATIONAL Water Commission (NWC) has been saving US$8 million (J$1.16 billion) per year since implementing a Non-Revenue Water (NRW) programme in Kingston and St Andrew.

The US$42.5-million five-year programme is being implemented by the NWC with international water-efficiency co-management partner Miya Jamaica, and is aimed at reducing non-revenue water by more than 30 per cent.

Country manager for Miya Jamaica Limited, Alvaro Ramalho, said the company has so far managed to reduce losses by a third, or from 60 per cent to 40 per cent, through the project, which is now in its final year.

A major factor in the recovery of lost revenue has been the discovery there were more than six times as many leaks than had been recorded officially. At the start of the NRW programme, there were an estimated 150 leaks monthly. More surgical detection measures revealed that there were more than 1,000.

“We have implemented the right commercial loss strategies, and we have seen the results. We worked in more than 40 communities where we started by talking with the stakeholders and the leaders,” Ramalho said during a webinar on Tuesday.

More than 10,000 individual meters have been installed in each of these areas, he said.

Ramalho acknowledged that while the metering of some communities in Kingston was a challenge, the NWC was still able to retain revenue through leak detection and repairs.

“The percentage of non-visibles is around 15 per cent,” Ramalho said.

President of NWC, Mark Barnett, said the utility company has got political buy-in for the project over time.

“The overall impact is a reduction in capital expenditure in the long run, which serves any country well in terms of their overall expenditure,” he said.