GIS - 28 August, 2013: A one-day workshop in the context of the implementation of Non-Revenue Water (NRW) opened this morning at La Petite Cannelle at Domaine Les Pailles. The workshop, which outlines the objective of the project and its critical success factors, serves as an ideal platform to enlist the commitment of all stakeholders involved in this issue.
The NRW project, with an estimated cost of Rs 1 billion, started on 1st July 2013 and will span over a period of two years. It is jointly driven by a team of technicians of the Central Water Authority (CWA) and a group of experts from Singapore. The Singapore team, made up of Singapore Cooperation Enterprise, the Public Utilities Board and CHM2 Hill, the international consultant, will provide leadership and project management services with the aim of bringing down the present NRW level by half. The project will apply the latest technological advances in terms of telemetry and network monitoring which would be the model for CWA to replicate subsequently throughout the island.
In his opening address, the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Energy and Public Utilities, Dr Rashid Beebeejaun, recalled that the problem of water and NRW is a top priority for the Government. He deplored that the problem of NRW has not been effectively addressed till date. Following a study carried out by the Singapore team in the Mare aux Vacoas (MAV) region as part of the government to government cooperation, a Singapore team has been recruited for the implementation of a reduction in the NRW project focusing on the upper MAV. These regions were among the most seriously affected areas during the last drought episode, he said.
Dr Beebeejaun pointed out that we should not underestimate the challenges ahead and all stakeholders should cooperate and be committed to make the project a success. He expressed his confidence that engineers, technicians and operators will acquire international best practices during the implementation of the programme and that they will use their skills and know-how to good use to extend the NRW project to other regions of the island.
For his part, the Chairperson of the CWA, Mr Prem Saddul, highlighted that massive investment is required for a successful NRW project. “There has been a ‘touch and go’ approach to the issue mainly on account of insufficient means at the CWA”, he said.
To tackle the problem of NRW, the CWA has set up a dedicated cell coupled with an Anti-Fraud Unit which focuses on site investigations, repair of visible leaks and fraud detection. Budgetary provisions have also been made to enable the CWA to embark on a yearly pipe replacement programme. This resulted in a massive investment of Rs 800 million in pipe renewal and extension of existing network.
The Regional Director of the Singapore Cooperation Enterprise, Mr Alvin Lim, said that Singapore has one of the lowest NRW level in the world estimated at 5%. However, he pointed out that this result did not occur overnight but rather through continuously sustained efforts. He added that both the Mauritian and the Singaporean governments are committed to tackle the problem of NRW.
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