It has been 6 years since MIYA Bahamas arrived in Nassau. Their mission: to assist the Water & Sewerage Corporation (WSC) in its efforts to reduce millions of gallons of Non-Revenue Water (NRW) which were being lost daily due to leaks, wastage, theft, and deteriorating pipes. Thanks to an 83 million-dollar loan secured by the Government of The Bahamas from the InterAmerican Development Bank (IDB), MIYA Bahamas in partnership with WSC, set out to improve the efficiency and quality of service provision of potable water and address critical sewerage needs in New Providence.
Upon being awarded the ten-year contract, MIYA Bahamas immediately began their assessment of water systems around the island launching an 8-month study in April of 2012. Their research uncovered the loss of up to 6.87 million gallons of non-revenue water, daily. However, through a targeted strategy which included:
- The replacement of thousands of faulty service connections.
- The deployment and installation of cutting edge equipment for monitoring and controlling remotely the water supply.
- The disconnection of illegal and dormant customers.
- By implementing a comprehensive maintenance plan, which includes an intensive and continuous active leak detection campaign - with consequent quick repairs - and an efficient pressure management, the company has significantly cut water losses resulting, yet to date, in having reduced to only 9.5 million in water production gains, while in 2012 was just below 12 million.
Through the funding provided by the IDB, MIYA Bahamas successfully implemented a new supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) system to better monitor, control, and respond to system challenges. Further to this, with 32 stations in the distribution systems, each one provided with a Pressure Reducing Valve (PRVs) along with a high tech system for monitoring and controlling water pressure remotely, the Company has met its mandate to create and maintain a more consistent, and shock-resistant water supply system.
“When we started, we recorded up 6.87 million of imperial gallons of daily losses in the system supply with no any kind of pressure management or active leak detection being implemented and a worrying begin of intermittent supply actions (cut-backs) that were being done in the system at night on a daily basis, particularly in inner-city communities” explained MIYA Bahamas Project Manager, Mario Tavera. “While leaks still occur across the system we are now in a better position to identify and repair them. Now, with our leak prioritization plan, we assign a team of inspectors to identify, monitor, and work along with the team at WSC to have them repaired quickly and efficiently.
The success of the company’s island-wide improvement plans have not only significantly reduced the amount of non-revenue water loss but has also improved water pressure, and significantly improved the quality too.
“We’ve been able to improve the quality of the water in many areas, and replace up to 17 thousand defective and leaking service connections, assuring Nassau tap water is safer, cleaner and easily accessible to all households,” said Tavera. During the first phase of the company’s mandate, MIYA Bahamas quickly hired and trained Bahamians to work with their new maintenance project directly and indirectly.
“We currently have a team of 20 people, each of them highly trained on topics related to the Project: Non-Revenue Water, GIS, water balance, hydraulic works and materials etc.. Then, we also have eleven leakage inspectors, all of whom are local hires” noted Tavera, “over the past four years we’ve also had about 120 Bahamians indirectly hired to make this project a success as well.”
With phase one of the infrastructure project now completed, the company has set its sights on even more improvements moving forward. Improvements which once completed will impact up to 250 thousand users in and around New Providence.
“We have a maintenance plan which includes lots of proactive fieldwork to ensure that new equipment is being effectively maintained. Our overall target is to reduce water losses down to 2 million imperial gallons per day. With over 10 Billion imperial gallons of water expected to be saved, the project is designed to repay itself within its lifespan, while providing residents in Nassau access to a safer, cleaner, and more reliable water supply.”