The Commonwealth Utilities Corp. has been focusing on reducing its non-revenue water loss in the CNMI as it also teamed up with the Federal Emergency Management Agency to make Saipan’s water infrastructure typhoon resilient.
In its 2017 Saipan Water Quality Report that was sent yesterday to all its water customers, CUC said its management team is focused on fixing all the leaks that contribute to water loss on the three islands, along with a plan to achieve a 24-hour water distribution to all Saipan customers by the end of the year.
However, their main challenge, the report said, is fixing the main transmission line that fail with the increased water pressure in a fully pressurized system.
“CUC is adjusting and moving deliberately to fix years of problems that have hurt water system delivery efforts to all customers,” the report said.
“As transmission and distribution mains are replaced, and water loss recedes, more effort will be made to plan for a feasibility study for alternative water supplies that includes desalination as one option,” the report added.
CUC also has a continuing effort to get all infrastructure systems running in time before the current pending demand goes online in 2019 and 2020.
CUC’s long-term strategy in meeting the increased demand include being cost-competitive and minimizing the impact on rates by considering the possibility of having developers pay for development—not existing ratepayers.
They are also working with FEMA in trying to get all water infrastructure systems on the island typhoon-resilient after services were disrupted when Typhoon Soudelor pummeled Saipan almost three years ago.
That involves hardening the water infrastructure system “in order to improve the capacity and capability of the water system to return to operation immediately following an environmental catastrophe,” states the CUC report.
Capital reinvestments have been CUC’s top priority the past six years that includes replacing four water storage tanks—between 250,000 and one million gallons—eight miles of mains replaced, upgrades to many water facilities, one mile of sewer mains replacement, rehabilitation of eight sewer pumping stations, and a comprehensive replacement of water meters for all residential, commercial, and government accounts.
The CUC management is also encouraging its customers to read and learn more about their water utility and understand how water quality guidelines operates. They suggest that consumers report any illegal connections and water leaks while minimizing water consumption to only what you need. Only CUC and fire personnel are authorized to use fire hydrants.