The weekly meeting of the Rotary Club of Nassau opened virtually this week with a special presentation from MIYA Bahamas Project Manager Mario Tavera. Despite the many challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic over the past year, MIYA Bahamas has stepped up its efforts to maintain the island’s water efficiency management and conservation standards, efforts which have been praised by both the IDB and the Government of The Bahamas.

“In dealing with COVID-19 we had to rely more heavily on technology to help us closely monitor and track water pressure levels and daily flow across New Providence. This was especially helpful in cases where in-person teams were restricted by Emergency Orders”, explained Tavera.

Since MIYA began its work in collaboration with the Water & Sewerage Corporation (WSC) more than 8 years ago the company has virtually reversed the issue of Non-Revenue Water (NRW). According to Tavera, non-revenue water levels are determined by how much revenue is lost to the WSC due to water loss brought on by leaks and other shortfalls.
The project funded by the IDB has facilitated the introduction and use of cutting-edge equipment that replaced and upgraded thousands of faulty, illegal, and dormant connections which had for years, put undue strain on the island’s utilities.

“Once we had completed our initial assessments, we went ahead and implemented proactive leak detection strategies,” explained Tavera to the Rotarians. “From rapid repair protocols, to pressure zones and district metered areas, to the design and implementation and a series of system optimizations that included the use of GIS updating, SCADA, and the introduction of data management hardware and software” he noted.

The upgrades and protocols had an almost immediate impact on the efficiency of the water supply system which Nassauvians now receive, reducing NRW levels by as much as 71% in simultaneously increasing revenue water intake significantly by the year 2017.

“In addition,” Tavera explained, “the 50 million dollar agreement with the IDB also aims to a major training initiative which will allow Bahamians to become fully trained to manage operations once our contract ends, which happens in approximately one year. We have full confidence that the team we have built and trained will absolutely be able to continue the work we started.”

Tavera further credits the use of a performance-based contract to aid the company in meeting the deadlines and objectives set at the start of the program; creating an environment of accountability that MIYA Bahamas employees have acceded to and even surpassed.

As the company winds down its work on the years-long contract, Tavera told Rotarians that he is immensely proud of the work done and the team that will eventually take over the operation.
During a vibrant question and answer segment, Tavera also fielded questions from Rotarians the future and continuation of the project.

“We have invested heavily in the necessary training,” said Tavera. “That training” he noted “is currently ongoing, and so we have every confidence that once completed and the official handover is made, this competent team of Bahamian employees will be in a position to continue the work and that the operation will be in good hands”.
In the interim, Tavera says the company will continue to meet its commitments to the WSC and the government and work to maintain the standard which has been set. As Rotary continues efforts to encourage social distancing they are encouraging future guests to participate with them virtually by reaching out to coordinator Chantel Nesbitt at chantel.nesbitt@gmail.com.