NWC loses most water to Trelawny, St Elizabeth, St Thomas
The NWC produced one per cent more water during the year 2021 compared to 2020, driven by increases of 1.9 per cent in output from Kingston, St Andrew, and St Thomas; and 0.7 per cent in output from other parishes.

TRELAWNY, St Elizabeth, and St Thomas, combined, accounted for the highest volume of the 75.1 per cent of non-revenue water (NRW) produced by the National Water Commission (NWC) last year.

According to the 2021 Economic and Social Survey published by the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ) and released this week, Trelawny used the most non-revenue water (88.6 per cent), followed by St Elizabeth (87.0 per cent), and St Thomas (85.7 per cent).

At the same time, water consumption went up by 0.9 per cent over 2020 due to a 0.5 per cent increase in consumption in the three highlighted parishes, and 1.1 per cent in other parishes.

The NWC produced one per cent more water during the year 2021 compared to 2020, driven by increases of 1.9 per cent in output from Kingston, St Andrew, and St Thomas; and 0.7 per cent in output from other parishes.

Kingston and St Andrew accounted for 35.2 per cent, or the largest share of consumption, followed by St Catherine, 19.2 per cent.

“This growth in water consumption was attributed to higher demand linked to the relaxation of measures implemented to restrict the spread of COVID-19, and an increase in the level of rainfall compared with 2020,” the PIOJ noted, pointing out that the increase was due to higher usage in residences and Government entities.

This was compared to significantly lower consumption in schools, the commercial sector, and condominiums.

In the meantime the number of connections to the NWC’s network increased to 527,270 from 518,199, due mainly to an expansion in housing and commercial building stocks, with a higher number of connections in Kingston, St Andrew, and St Thomas (142,935 up from 141,068) and 384,335, up from 377,131 in other parishes.

The utility company’s revenue increased by 11.1 per cent to $38.1 billion due to more connections and an increase in the water and sewerage rates charged to customers. This increase saw revenue moving 11.7 per cent to $15.4 billion for Kingston, St Andrew, and St Thomas, and 10.7 per cent in other parishes, which moved those revenues up to $22.7 billion.

The PIOJ also reported an increase in electricity consumption and charges, with growth in all customer categories, as the Jamaica Public Service Company’s customer base went from 673,156 to 680,923.

Similar to the NWC’s increase in connections, the PIOJ attributed this to increases in housing and commercial building stocks.

“The average rate charged to all customer categories increased and was due to higher increase in international oil prices and a depreciation in the foreign exchange rate,” the chief planning agency noted.

It expects that growth in the utilities will further expand this year as a result of economic recovery from the novel coronavirus pandemic, with the NWC pushing to increase operational efficiency and service reliability under its NRW reduction co-management programme by regularising consumers in certain areas.

In the energy sector, the State oil refinery is to install facilities to convert heavy fuel oil to asphalt for both the local and export markets. Furthermore, the PIOJ outlined that initiatives are to be advanced to increase the list of renewable energy and energy-efficient items that benefit from waivers, to bump up incentives which support energy efficiency while reducing the country’s carbon emissions.

BY ALPHEA SUMNER Senior staff reporter saundersa@jamaicaobserver.com

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