Another Joint Select Committee (JSC) into the management of the Water and Sewerage Authority (WASA) renewed the call for metering.
This is the second such call in the past three years but the recommendations have not yet been implemented. The metering plan is not the only WASA strategic plan to take a long time to bear fruit.
According to the chief executive officer at WASA, Allan Poon-King, metering of private residences is next on the agenda but will have to coincide with a rate review.
“We want to look at the rate structure and metering as the two go hand in hand. In that regard we will be working with the Regulated Industries Commission to determine what would be appropriate for WASA,” Poon-King said.
Poon-King said based on the allocation of funding, there is no timeline for the private implementation of meters.
The organisation has only been able to implement roughly 17 per cent of its two-year strategic plan.
The industry norm and goal is 80 per cent. This means that the WASA has failed to achieve and implement more than half of its objectives.
“Based on the rate that we are going, we are looking at a period of at least one or two years before we get to 80 per cent,” Poon-King said.
“We are well behind,” JSC member, Senator Anil Robert’s summed up.
He questioned whether a lack of funding was responsible for the implementation failures.
“The budget would have been in the order of $550 and $600 million,” Poon-King said.
Poon-King said that a large portion of WASA’s transformation plan was infrastructural which was “capital intensive”.
“A lot of the underachievement is associated with that. Some of the other issues that would have contributed would be on the softer side so to speak with respect to the way WASA operates,” he said.
“Those are also not implemented and are currently being processed by the board,” he said.
Poon-King said WASA would continue to be stymied by the lack of funding.
“We are focusing to get projects done,” he said.
Those projects, Poon-King said dealt with delivery to customers.
He said that the focus of WASA was areas that get pipe-borne water less than two days a week. He said the goal was to now “stabilise” the supply to those areas and increase the regularity of supply.
Fellow JSC member, Senator Saddam Hosein questioned the Non-Revenue Water Programme which is part of WASA’s transformation and strategic plan.
“There are some of the projects I am seeing under the programme which relates to metering,” he said.
Hosein questioned the use of “bulk metering”.
“The purpose of metering is to measure consumption at the customer and also to provide WASA with data to inform our management decisions with respect to transmission and distribution. Bulk metering would be installed to measure water production sources as well as key points in our production line. That would give us information on where the water is going and in terms of the volumes and flows,” Poon-King said.
He said that district metering would measure how much water is distributed per area.
“That would give us an idea of consumption within that community,” he said.
He said that would be able to better measure consumption and control.
The last part of the plan is domestic metering to measure private consumption.
“We have started our bulk metering programme and we have installed 27 bulk meters and that was just completed in December and we are just receiving data,” he said.
He said the next step is to install district meters.
“The total for Trinidad is about 160 and I believe 40 are currently functional,” he said.