St Lucia: About 55 percent of the water that leaves WASCO’s treatment plant is classified as unaccounted-for water. This water is “lost” in the distribution system before getting to registered customers through leaky pipes or illegal connections.
Such major losses carry a high cost and place increasing stress on the island’s water supply. Reducing unaccounted-for water to the accepted range of 15-20 percent is critical to meeting water demands in a drying climate.
A bulk metering system is a key step in any country effectively managing its water distribution system and reducing unaccounted-for water. The DVRP has supported WASCO through the investment of approximately USD 172,500 to first procure bulk water meters and installation materials and then install the meters.
The new DVRP-funded bulk metering system consists of 72 bulk meters, of which 42 cover communities in Anse La Raye, Canaries, Choiseul, Soufriere, Micoud and Dennery. The bulk metering system will allow WASCO to account for the water as it leaves the treatment plant and makes its way to customers in various communities through a series of water distribution mains and feeder lines.
By measuring or accounting for the water within subsections of the wider water distribution network, known as district metered areas (DMAs), WASCO can better pinpoint where water is being lost in the system and intervene to fix the problem. The metering system will also help WASCO to better quantify demand in specific communities in order to best manage water supply.
The first phase of the bulk metering system funded through the DVRP was completed in November 2021 and is part of a wider WASCO initiative to install bulk meters across its entire distribution network, bringing St Lucia one step closer to climate resilience in the water sector.
WASCO Data Processing Supervisor, Joachim Hyacinth, described the DVRP intervention as a significant improvement to WASCO’s infrastructure system, saying, “For us, unaccounted-for water is lost revenue.”