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Irrigation commission loses $1B worth of water

Published:Tuesday | June 18, 2013 | 12:00 AM

THE NATIONAL Irrigation Commission (NIC) has recorded $1.2 billion in losses of the precious commodity, representing 28 per cent of the water produced over the six-year period April 2006 to March 2012.

In a performance audit of the NIC, the Auditor General's Department said water losses as a percentage of total water production moved from 19 per cent in 2006/2007 to 36 per cent in 2011/2012.

The NIC has indicated that the nature of of its open irrigation system will likely have a 20 to 25 per cent system loss and has acknowledged in its strategic plan 2013-2017 the need to develop and implement projects to reduce systems losses.

Meanwhile, the NIC's plans to replace asbestos cement pipes with PVC pipes, to mitigate possible health risks, are being delayed by a lack of resources.

The capital requirement for the NIC's project to repair and replace its irrigation infrastructure is estimated at $1.2 billion.