Mechanical Water Meters to Be Replaced Over Next Five Years

Photo: Adrian Walker Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, Hon. Dr. Horace Chang (left), examines one of the 450,000 new high tech electronic water meters to be supplied by German company, Diehl Metering to the National Water Commission (NWC). Looking on is Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany, His Excellency Joachim Christoph Schmillen. Diehl was awarded a US$43.9 million contract to supply the meters for installation islandwide. Dr. Chang, along with principals of the NWC and Diehl Metering, signed the contract on Friday (Dec. 15) during a ceremony at Jamaica House.

Story Highlights

  • Over the next five years, the National Water Commission (NWC) will be replacing mechanical water meters with new high tech electronic devices, which will result in improved quality of service to consumers and a reduction in operational costs for the agency.
  • Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, Hon. Dr. Horace Chang, along with principals of the NWC and Diehl Metering, recently signed a US$43.9 million contract to supply 450,000 meters to the NWC. The signing ceremony was held at Jamaica House.
  • “Having satisfactory metering systems (is important) so we can measure accurately what people buy. We want to ensure that (what we supply) is paid for and we can keep water rates reasonable,” Dr. Chang said.

Over the next five years, the National Water Commission (NWC) will be replacing mechanical water meters with new high-tech electronic devices, which will result in improved quality of service to consumers and a reduction in operational costs for the agency.

The solid-state water meters, to be supplied by the German company, Diehl Metering, are rated among the best in the industry, utilising some of the latest technologies, and feature batteries that will last for a minimum of 15 years.

Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, Hon. Dr. Horace Chang, along with principals of the NWC and Diehl Metering, recently signed a US$43.9 million contract to supply 450,000 meters to the NWC. The signing ceremony was held at Jamaica House.

Dr. Chang said the signing is a continuation of a project, which saw the installation of 5,000 similar meters supplied by Diehl as part of the NWC’s efforts to improve efficiencies in its network.

“We will be able to change almost all the meters (across the island)… and take care of additional metering over the next few years,” he said.

He said a significant feature of the technology is that it will increase the NWC’s capacity to more accurately account for water supplied, which will reduce losses due to non-revenue water (NRW).

NRW refers to water that has been produced and is lost before it reaches the customer. Losses can occur as a result of leaks, theft, or metering inaccuracies. According to recent reports, more than 50 per cent of the country’s water is lost in this way.

“Having satisfactory metering systems (is important) so we can measure accurately what people buy. We want to ensure that (what we supply) is paid for and we can keep water rates reasonable,” Dr. Chang said.

He noted that procurement of the new meters is part of the Government’s continued efforts to correct inefficiencies in order to improve water supply to Jamaicans while reducing costs.

Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany, His Excellency Joachim Christoph Schmillen, said the contract signing was the result of hard work and dedication by Diehl Metering and the strong belief of the Jamaican Government in the state-of-the-art technology offered by the company.

“Soon, more or less everyone on the island will be in very close, direct contact with advanced, reliable and sophisticated German technology. For me as Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany, it is of certain importance that such a huge company like Diehl is now engaged in Jamaica offering a convincing, unbeatable product, which was positively tested in an initial test phase,” he said.

For his part, President, Diehl Metering, Frank Gutzeit, thanked the Government for trusting the company’s technology, assuring that Diehl is a reliable partner with more than 155 years of success in the business of engineering water meters.

The new meters feature easy-to-read digital displays, which reduce the risk of erroneous readings.
They also contain a tamper-resistant mechanism that leaves evidence of any attempts to interfere with the instrument. In addition, they can be read remotely, and can also detect leakages.

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