It has been six years since MIYA Bahamas arrived in Nassau. Its 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 loan secured by the government from the Inter-American 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 a ten-year contract, MIYA Bahamas immediately began its assessment of water systems around the island, launching an eight-month study in April of 2012. Its 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; and the implementation of 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.
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 (PRV) 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 to 6.87 million of imperial gallons of daily losses in the system supply, with no kind of pressure management or active leak detection being implemented and intermittent supply actions 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 has not only significantly reduced the amount of non-revenue water lost, 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 17,000 defective and leaking service connections, assuring Nassau’s 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, water balance, hydraulic works and materials, etc. Then, we also have eleven leakage inspectors, all of whom are local hires. Over the past four years we’ve also had about 120 Bahamians indirectly hired to make this project a success as well,” noted Tavera.
With phase one of the infrastructure project now completed, the company has set its sights on even more improvements moving forward, which once completed will impact up to 250,000 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 two 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,” stated Tavera.