NWC To Launch Aggressive Conservation Campaign


The National Water Commission (NWC) intends to launch an aggressive public education campaign this year to promote water conservation efforts and educate customers about practices which affect their bills.
Corporate Public Relations Manager at the NWC, Charles Buchanan, told a JIS ‘Think Tank’ session earlier this week, that consumers often complained about exorbitant water bills and ignored consumption patterns.
“Most customers will look at the money value and not at the amount consumed. They’ll simply say that ‘it come up to too much’. In most instances it can be explained by simply looking at the consumption.
Unfortunately, many of our customers are not sufficiently attuned to monitoring their consumption and therefore this is affecting the outcome of their water supply bills,” Mr. Buchanan explained.
The NWC official cited an example to highlight how consumers could benefit from increased vigilance. He referred to a school that “complained bitterly that their water supply bill was just too high”. After investigations by the NWC and school administrators, it was discovered that 14 of the school’s toilets were “running continuously” and the result was reflected in the bills.
“That source of leakage, which is the toilet, is the one which goes on without anybody noticing it. It is not wetting up the place, it is not causing anybody any inconvenience and in many instances people do not even recognise it because, unless you are looking for it, you might not recognise it as a leak,” he told JIS News.
Another way in which the public can save on water bills is to find alternative water sources for non-domestic uses. Mr. Buchanan pointed out, for example, that treated potable water was not a requirement for farming activity and persons who had small farms or gardens might find it much cheaper to use containers or tanks to establish “rainwater catchments” on their property, so that during dry periods, they would have water.
Persons or groups who have farms or large gardens and are interested in establishing their own water supply systems, could contact the NWC, which would provide technical assistance to get the project off the ground and also identify other avenues of support.
“We have been encouraging and in some instances we have provided assistance to some agencies and groups who operate large areas. We will provide you with whatever technical support, so that you can look at the possibility of having your own well on your property.this takes a strain off the water supply system,” he said.
Conservation efforts are relevant in light of the fact that the Office of Utilities Regulations (OUR) last November granted the utility company a 26.23 per cent tariff adjustment on its water and sewerage rates. This increase became effective on January 1.
The public is therefore encouraged to note the pointers provided by the Commission:
. Economise – Be conscious of the amount of water you use. For example, when brushing teeth, instead of having the tap running, use a glass of water. Also, practise washing your car with a bucket of water instead of a running hose. Instead of washing driveways, sidewalks, gutters and steps, use a hard broom to sweep these areas.
. Fix Leaks – A dripping faucet or shower or leaking toilet can make a major difference in your water bill. A leak of merely 1 drop per second wastes 2,400 gallons per year and puts a big dent in your pocket. Be sure to switch off taps tightly.
Most leaks are easy to repair with basic know-how and a few simple tools. Worn washers cause many leaks in faucets so if, despite your best efforts to close tightly, the pipe is still leaking, fix it or call in a plumber. Also, check your toilet for leaks. The rubber bung (also called the plunger ball) in your toilet tank is sometimes the source of undetected leaks, as it wears with age. Be extra vigilant in checking for this.
. Water-saving Devices – There are a number of simple devices that can significantly reduce water usage. These include aerators, flow regulators and displacement devices. Install water-saving showerheads and flow restrictors in the bathroom, that will save you thousands of gallons of water every year, not to mention the money you will save.
. Re-use Water – Used water, such as at the kitchen sink and at the washstand, is often suitable for other purposes. If this “grey water” is used more than once, it saves water for other uses. An excellent use for this type of water is the watering of plants and gardens.
For more information on how you can conserve water, call the Public Relations Department of the NWC at 929 5430-5, visit the nearest NWC office, or visit their web site at www.nwcjamaica.com.

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