NWC Tackles Water Loss in Rural Parishes

Photo: Adrian Walker President of the National Water Commission (NWC), Mark Barnett, addresses a recent JIS Think Tank.

Story Highlights

  • The National Water Commission (NWC) will be placing increased focus on rural parishes as it intensifies activities to reduce non-revenue water (NRW) loss.
  • Mr. Barnett told JIS News that NWC loses up to 70 per cent of the water it produces on a daily basis.
  • “We produce just about 180 million gallons of water all across Jamaica. It, therefore, means that whatever revenue we are now generating, which is averaging on a monthly basis $2.3 million, we could be billing far greater if we have an improved system,” he contended.

The National Water Commission (NWC) will be placing increased focus on rural parishes as it intensifies activities to reduce non-revenue water (NRW) loss.

“We are looking at other areas where the NRW is significantly greater than Kingston,” said President of the Commission, Mark Barnett, at a recent JIS Think Tank. “In Kingston, it’s about 60 per cent. Clarendon and St. Elizabeth are two parishes with very high NRW in the order of 75 per cent to 80 per cent, and those are primary areas where we are focused on tackling because it is unsustainable,” he pointed out.

“Where we really want to get to is, where we produce water in a particular parish, the business model of that parish should allow it to pay for itself and all the attendant costs,” he added.

NRW refers to water that has been produced and is lost before it reaches the customer. This may be through leaks, theft, metering inaccuracies or other means.

Mr. Barnett told JIS News that NWC loses up to 70 per cent of the water it produces on a daily basis.

“We produce just about 180 million gallons of water all across Jamaica. It, therefore, means that whatever revenue we are now generating, which is averaging on a monthly basis $2.3 million, we could be billing far greater if we have an improved system,” he contended.

The NWC is already undertaking activities in the Corporate Area under a five-year agreement with Israeli-based company, Miya, which ends in 2020.

The US$42.5 million Non-Revenue Water Co-Management Project, which is being implemented through funding from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), aims to strengthen the institutional capacity of the NWC in order to improve its performance and maximise the collection of income for the water it produces.

It involves an audit of the NWC network to determine the precise situation with regard to NRW and how best to reduce these figures to 20 per cent within the fifth year of the project.

In addition, 150 employees are being trained to ensure a highly skilled and dedicated NRW water management team at the NWC, to allow for the ongoing use of best practices after completion of the project.

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