Thu | Dec 2, 2021

Gallons, billions going to waste

Published:Wednesday | July 23, 2014 | 12:00 AM


In a recent discussion with a high-level employee of the National Water Commission (NWC), I was informed that Kingston uses 40 million gallons of water per day. Of this 40m, I was shocked to learn that 19m gallons of water goes to waste (leaks) daily as a result of old and damaged pipes.

I got out my spreadsheet, did some calculations, and here are the results.

These 19m gallons of waste a day translates to 6.9 billion gallons of water per year.

The 19m gallons of water at J$0.39 per gallon (a rate quoted by the editor in this publication) equals J$2.7 billion dollars a year, almost a third of the NWC's losses annually. This is just for Kingston.

From these results, I have a few questions.

1. Do we need 40m gallons a day, since we are only using 21m gallons a day?

2. Could we lock off water twice per day, say, 12 p.m. to 3 p.m., and 2 a.m. to 5 a.m.?

3. Why can't we repair these pipes?

If water could be turned off for six hours a day, we would save 10m gallons a day, 3.6 billion gallons a year, and J$1.42 billion annually.

During the 1980s, I met a gentleman from Holland who was in Jamaica consulting with the NWC. He told me that Jamaica has water like Saudi Arabia has oil!

Even Saudi Arabia's oil will run out one day.