By DANA SMITH
Tribune Staff Reporter
A YEAR and a half after agreeing to pay a foreign company more than $80 million to reduce water losses, the Water and Sewerage Corporation is now experiencing a “significant” increase in leakage, general manager Glen Laville admitted yesterday.
This water loss surge, the cause of which Mr Laville was unable to explain, is the reason why WSC has again taken to rationing water supply at certain hours.
At the time the contract was signed, the corporation reported that it lost just over five million gallons of water a day, but earlier this year, WSC put this number at 6.5 million – which translates into a loss of $16 million a year.
Mr Laville said although the corporation also signed a deal to expand their Baillou Hills desalination plant, allowing for the purification of an additional 4.0 million imperial gallons of water a day, the problem isn’t production.
“Our issues right now is the amount of water that is going into supply, that’s to meet the demand, and also the losses that we have,” he said.
“Unfortunately what really happened is demand has increased slightly but losses have increased rather significantly; and so all the extra production capacity that we made arrangements for and that came out of the move from tankering to desalination, the majority of it has ended up as water losses – non-revenue water.
“Typically that comes in different forms,” he said. “You have the actual physical losses from leaks, that sort of thing, and then you also have the commercial losses which may be metering issues, theft, illegal connection, that sort of thing.”
Finding a way to reduce those losses is a priority for the company, Mr Laville said, pointing to the $81 million contract with the Israeli firm, Miya.
“That contract started in earnest in January of this year and so progressively, we expect to reduce those losses by just about 4 million gallons, per day. But that will be over a period of four years,” he said.
“One thing that has to be emphasised – yes, you do have occasional hiccups in production, however that is not the cause of the rationing. The cause of the rationing is really the fact that the extra production capacity that we put in place is unfortunately being used up through additional water losses.
“It’s a problem that we expect to have under control, definitely before the end of the year. That’s not to say we’re going to be water rationing until the end of the year, but it’s a problem that we expect to have under control.
“This is the first year of the implementation of the non-revenue water contract so we expect to have good results from that.”
It was announced on Wednesday that the corporation will periodically interrupt water services for residents of New Providence until further notice.
The water rationing exercises are taking place nightly between 10pm and 5am in an effort to conserve water for periods of peak usage.
In 2011, the Baillou Hills desalination plant was expanded to allow for the purification of an additional 4.0 million imperial gallons of water a day. The plant replaced the old practice of importing water from Andros, which produced just around 2.7 million imperial gallons of water a day.