CUC: Water loss due to ongoing projects

THE increase in water loss can be attributed in part to the on-going improvement of water lines on Saipan, Commonwealth Utilities Corp. executive director Gary Camacho said.

In his recent report to the CUC board, Camacho said non-revenue water loss went up to 64.1 percent in October and November 2017 from 59.94 percent in previous months.

As of January this year, it dropped to 63 percent, he said, adding the percentage continues to fluctuate because there are different areas that have been pressurized on a routine basis.

“Obviously those areas [waterlines] are aged and the leak-repair progress was stretched over the last six months,” he said.

“When the pressure drops then goes up, the weakest part of the system gives out, when that gives out, the water pressure finds the next weakest spot,” he added.

As CUC works to improve water-delivery systems, Camacho notes that water loss will be decreased.

CUC deputy executive director William Gilmore said the recent water project in As Lito was to eliminate the existing transmission line to improve water pressure.

He said they had to eliminate a series of “jungle lines” crossing private property.

“We are eliminating those lines because this is a water service we need to take control of,” he said, adding that since CUC is supplying water, they want to ensure payment for the services it provides.

Gilmore said the water line should be in the right of way so that CUC has access and maintains its ownership.

He said there are meters installed in various areas but it is ofren difficult to locate them because the water lines cross into private properties.

The water project in As Lito also involved eliminating the six inch main water line and establishing a new main to improve the water pressure that serves Chalan Kanoa, As Lito and Susupe, he said.

“We are trying to add some efficiency to the system to improve the water pressure, improve supplies and also give us a chance to eliminate some of the problems of shutdown,” he said.

CUC produces 9 million to 10 million gallons of water every day, but 65 percent to 70 percent of it is lost due to leaks and customers failing to pay, which costs CUC $38 million in annual water revenue loss.

Camacho reported the highest number of water theft incidents in November 2017 with 16 cases.

From January to June 2017, CUC reported one water-theft case each month, two cases each for July and August and four cases each for September and October.

There were four water-theft cases in December and three in January.

In January, they received 548 leak reports but only 85 have been repaired, including meter leaks, Camacho said.

Source: Marianas Variety :

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