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File image: Gallons of water flow from this damaged standpipe, which has now been repaired.

Water leakages across the country can account for almost half of the supply of water available being wasted.

This was revealed by Chairman of the Water and Sewerage Authority Romney Thomas during a Public Accounts Committee meeting which focused on the Audited Financial Statements of the Water and Sewerage Authority from 2008 to 2013.

“We don’t have any precise figures, we’ve done some work in terms of accurately diagnose how much water is lost through leakages and so forth. Best estimates, it’s approximately 40 to 45 per cent I would say in terms of leakage of water,” said Thomas in response to a question from committee chairman Dr Bhoe Tewarie.

Thomas explained however that not all those leaks were directly related to faulty WASA lines, but also occurred on domestic properties which the utility had little control over.

He admitted however, it was difficult to properly ascertain how much water was actually wasted as a result.

Thomas said since WASA’s previous appearance before the committee they had “fixed 7900 leaks” but there were still over 900 leaks which needed to be addressed.

Thomas also confirmed that WASA’s restrictions were still in effect as there continued to be a shortfall in terms of supply versus the demand for water from the public.

“Right now (we’re) producing approximately 215 million gallons a day. Average daily consumption is approximately, there’s a shortfall, we’re approximately 240 million gallons a day,” said Thomas, who explained this was one of the main reasons there was a lot of scheduling and restrictions in place across the country.

He also sought to remind that the water hose restriction was in effect, despite the reservoir levels reaching a reasonable level following substantial rainfall in December.

Thomas also explained that the closure of several industrial plants had greatly affected the revenue earned by the utility.

The closure of the Arcelor Mittal plant, Thomas said, saw WASA lose $4 million in revenue.