CUC says non-revenue water at 61%

REVENUE: Commonwealth Utilities Corp. board Vice Chairman Weston Deleon Guerrero, left, talks with newly hired CUC chief engineer for water and waste water Joseph Carlson before the start of a recent board meeting. Photo by Junhan B. Todiño

SAIPAN – The Commonwealth Utilities Corp. has 61.4% non-revenue water even as its 24-hour water service continues throughout the island, CUC Executive Director Gary Camacho said.

After Typhoon Yutu in October 2018, CUC’s non-revenue water increased to 70% from 50%.

“The challenges are still there,” Camacho said as he expressed confidence that CUC can address its water losses with the hiring of a new chief engineer for water and wastewater, Joseph Carlson.

“We will be addressing and lowering those numbers accordingly,” Camacho said.

He noted there are hundreds of leaks in the waterline due to the greater pressure on the system now that water service is 24 hours a day on island.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has been assisting CUC with funding support to fix the leaks and old pipes in the water system, he added.

CUC board Vice Chair Weston Deleon Guerrero said while CUC is making strides, he has not seen non-revenue water go down below 50% in the past 15 years.

Camacho said the challenge is to replace CUC’s 50-year-old waterline.

He said CUC needs “larger investments to take on larger projects that can address the bigger problems in the water system.”

This was included in CUC’s five-year plan to reduce non-revenue water, he added.

For Tinian, the island’s CUC resident director, Evelyn Manglona, said the non-revenue water for July was 70%.

She said CUC produces 28,544 gallons of water every month from the Maui 2 pump station. There are 766 water customers: 647 residential, 71 commercial and 48 government accounts.