Water conference to focus on energy
Guardian Business Reporter
Published: Oct 01, 2014
The Water and Sewerage Corporation (WSC) will engage with regional leaders to devise energy reform strategies as part of the 23rd annual Caribbean Water and Wastewater Association (CWWA) conference.
Conference Chairman Cyprian Gibson considers the conference’s theme, “Waste, water and energy in the Caribbean” “very appropriate”, given the growing need for energy conservation for water and wastewater industries throughout the Caribbean.
WSC Deputy General Manager Robert Deal believes that the conference’s energy theme is highly relevant for the corporation, as the rising cost of energy involved in water production remains one of WSC’s top concerns.
“In that process, anywhere between 30 to 40 percent, on average, of the cost of water production is energy-related. That’s why we’re focused so much on non-revenue water with respect to the losses, but also with respect to the energy component as well,” said Deal, adding that a growing percentage of water used in the Family Islands is produced through desalination plants, which increases costs.
Non-revenue water (NRW) is produced water that is lost before reaching the customer, predominantly through leaks in WSC’s case.
“In addition to non-revenue water, we’re focusing on other energy issues, such as pumps, ensuring that we use the most [energy] efficient pumps in our water and sewer systems,” Deal said.
He hopes that the conference will help the corporation and other local industry leaders develop “best practices” with regard to energy conservation strategies by “determining what is going on in the Caribbean, how other countries are combating it, and then [determining] the best practice moving forward.”
Demand for energy reform has grown across the public and private sectors in recent months amid soaring energy costs and continued technical issues and blackouts from the Bahamas Electricity Corporation (BEC).
The Ministry of the Environment released an updated energy policy last week, which stated that BEC would be able to set limits on renewable energy generation for businesses and private residences.
WSC will host the conference with the association of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), the Caribbean Water and Sewerage Association and other international organizations at Atlantis from October 6-11. Gibson claimed that the conference will generate 1,500 room nights from Atlantis alone.
The conference expects participation and representation from local and international leaders in water, waste and solid waste, and will additionally host specialized workshops on arbitration and dispute resolution in the water and sewerage sector, water risk and disasters, water climate change and health and certification courses for water utilities.