Categorized | Business

Water & Sewerage Leaking Money

Leaks, thefts and metering inaccuracies are costing the Water & Sewerage Corporation (W&SC) $16 million in losses each year, according the corporation’s general manager, Glen Laville.

Mr. Laville yesterday confirmed that the corporation is losing close to six million gallons of non-revenue water every day – more than 50 per cent of the corporation’s supply.

He said the majority of the losses are due to leaks.

In December 2011 the former Ingraham administration signed an $80 million loan with the International Development Bank (IDB) in order to correct this problem.

“That water losses component (of that agreement) is going to cost $49 million and what it seeks to do is reduce our water losses from six million gallons of water per day to two-and-a-half million gallons a day in year five, which is 2017,” he said yesterday during a Rotary of West Nassau meeting at Poop Deck on Sandyport.

“We also have an additional reduction, which will happen two years later, to take us down to two million gallons per day and just to put it in percentage terms, right now non-revenue water or water losses is about 56 per cent of what we supply. By the time we finish this project it will be down to about 20 to 22 per cent.”

The W&SC general manager noted that unlike other state-run entities, the water company does not have a monopoly on the services it provides.

He said the company has “perfect competition” in that anyone can drill a well and become his or her own provider.

Mr. Laville said in years past water supply staff had to go out and check levels at all reservoirs and pumping stations to see if there was a problem or to read meters.

“We recently installed a system and now we’re at the stage where at our controlling centre we’re able to see what the levels are. We have a system where we are able to physically see what’s going on in the station and we also get notifications and alarms if something happens,” he said.

“So, what that does for is us it allows us to react a lot more quickly and efficiently when there are problems in the system.”

The corporation is currently looking at implementing automated meter reading systems and is currently testing a pilot project where a system would be attached to the meters and information would be downloaded to its head office automatically. The information would then go to billing system.

Mr. Laville said the corporation is also considering restructuring.

He says if Water & Sewerage maintains the status quo over the next 10 years it would require $400 million in government subsidies.

“That is just to keep our operation going. That is if we made no improvements whatsoever. So, in 10 years we would still be as bad – from an efficiency standpoint – as we are now,” he said. “By making this investment and following this plan, we’ve projected that over the next 10 years we would only require $180 million from the government.”

“That sounds like a very large number, but keep in mind that our focus has been primarily on New Providence and Family Islands still need a lot of major development

Mr. Laville said the corporation does not want to increase tariffs until it improves its customer service.

The last tariff increase was in 1999 – 13 years ago.

Rogan Smith

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