Work under way to overhaul and upgrade the National Water Commission’s (NWC) distribution network, to better facilitate the management of non-revenue water, is key to increasing the delivery of the commodity to Jamaicans.
Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, Senator the Hon. Matthew Samuda, in making the statement, said a 2016 study revealed that approximately 74 per cent of water that the NWC “accessed, collected, pulled from wells and processed” was categorised as non-revenue water.
“It’s the water that leaks out before it gets to your pipe,” he pointed out.
“There is no one who operates a business who would find it a good business strategy to keep our business open if 74 per cent of their goods, time and energy was wasted,” he noted.
Minister Samuda was addressing the official commissioning of the $130-million New Building Water Supply System in St. Elizabeth on Thursday (November 3).
He said that the Government has “heavily invested” in overhauling the country’s aging water infrastructure, noting that work is already being carried out in Kingston and St. Andrew and St. Catherine.
“In your urban centre of Kingston and St. Andrew we’ve cut that figure (non-revenue water loss) in half and we’re down into the 30s. We’ve started the Portmore non-revenue water system and we’ve already cut that non-revenue water by 30 per cent,” he pointed out.
Minister Samuda noted that the Government is also reducing the cost of energy used to pump water throughout the country, including finding cheaper energy sources.
“Most recently, the NWC commissioned a 50-kilowatt per hour system at the Mona Reservoir and launched a project to put in 45 megawatts of clean energy. This will benefit the NWC in excess of $1 billion a year,” Minister Samuda noted.
He said that reducing energy costs is critical in ensuring that more Jamaicans, particularly those in rural areas, can have reliable access to potable water.
He noted that approximately 78 per cent of Jamaica’s citizens benefit from water provided by the NWC and “we intend to connect the 22 per cent more of Jamaicans to the potable water needed”.
The New Building Water Supply System will provide some 400 households across 11 communities with piped water for the first time.
The system forms part of the Government’s Essex Valley Water Supply Scheme to reduce water-related challenges in St. Elizabeth.