Jamaica: Support the government in developing a non-revenue water program

Jamaica struggles with high levels of non-revenue water (NRW)—water produced but lost before reaching consumers, primarily due to leaks. NRW averages over 75 percent nationwide, with physical losses accounting for 59 percent of production and commercial losses of 16 percent. This strains Jamaica’s water resources, especially as climate change exacerbates drought risks.

Consequently, the National Water Commission (NWC), Jamaica’s main water utility, faces substantial technical and financial losses from NRW. The utility supplies 190 million gallons of potable water each day to more than 400,000 registered accounts representing about 2 million people across the country. However, its ambitious transformation program has been impeded by a lack of the capacity and equipment needed to significantly reduce leaks.

To tackle this challenge, NWC is exploring performance-based contracts (PBCs) with private contractors. Through PBCs for NRW reduction, contractors take on leak detection and repair activities in a designated area and are paid based on performance metrics like lowering NRW. This incentivizes efficient work while transferring risks away from the utility.

PPIAF is now supporting NWC to lay the groundwork for successful NRW-focused PBCs. PPIAF will provide advisory services to help NWC craft an effective contracting strategy, conduct procurement, and monitor contractor performance.

The activity focuses on designing PBCs that leverage private sector innovation and efficiency to slash NRW rates. This will significantly curb water losses, boost revenues, and improve service delivery for Jamaicans. At the same time, well-structured performance metrics and oversight will ensure contractors stay on track to meet targets.

Moreover, this initiative can be replicated and scaled up across the country. As a global leader in PBCs, PPIAF will draw on lessons from its experience to shape knowledge products that promote effective NRW-PBC models worldwide.

By blending private sector participation with public oversight, NRW PBCs offer Jamaica a promising solution for transforming water service sustainability. With PPIAF’s guidance, NWC can pioneer an approach to reduce losses and substantially improve water service resilience nationwide.

Approved date2023-06-28
RegionLatin America & Caribbean