$1.5 b earmarked for NWC installation of 35,000 water meters this year

The content originally appeared on: Jamaica News Loop News

A total of $1.5 billion has been earmarked to facilitate installation by the National Water Commission (NWC) of approximately 35,000 meters during fiscal year 2024/25.

According to the NWC, this will support the entity’s continued installation of more accurate meters, ongoing metering of unmetered accounts and replacement of aged meters over the period.

The undertaking is in keeping with the NWC’s focus on effective metering, billing and collection, which are of paramount importance to the sustainability of the agency’s operations.

Details of these and other engagements are contained in the Jamaica Public Bodies Estimates of Revenue and Expenditure for the Fiscal Year ending March 2025.

The NWC has additionally programmed the continued implementation of select business strategies and capital projects that are also expected to improve the entity’s operational efficiency, sustainability, infrastructure and service reliability.

Accordingly, the Commission will maintain focus on non-revenue water (NRW) reduction over the next five years, with priority being placed on the programme’s execution in Portmore, St. Catherine, during 2024/25.

The NWC also intends to proceed with plans to replace several potable water transmission mains.

This will see upgrading of pipelines between Ferry and Rock Pond in St. Andrew, and Montgomery Corner and National Heroes Circle in Kingston, as well as the Roaring River to Runaway Bay Phase 1 line along the island’s west and north coasts, between Westmoreland and St. Ann.

Enhancing energy efficiency remains a key focus area for the Commission, as it looks to slash associated expenses.

Consequently, the NWC intends to decrease its daytime energy usage from the national grid by 800 kilowatts by the end of the fiscal year.

This will be achieved through the installation of solar systems at the Leader Avenue pumping station (350kw), Frasers Content pumping station (100kw), and Forest Hill Relift facility (350kw).

The NWC, which is a statutory organisation, was established in 1980 through the amalgamation of the Kingston and St. Andrew Water Commission and the rurally focused, National Water Authority.

It is mandated to contribute positively to national development by providing high-quality potable water and sewerage services to residential and commercial customers in a cost-effective and sustainable manner.

The entity supplies more than 73 per cent of the population with piped water and 18 per cent with sewerage service through more than 1,000 facilities, including wells, water treatment plants, and pumping stations, and over 11,000 kilometres of water mains.

The NWC operates more than 68 wastewater treatment plants, more than 100 wastewater pump stations and over 500 kilometres of collector and trunk sewers.