Money being spent to repair Guam's very old water system - News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Money being spent to repair Guam's very old water system

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A new public auditor's report on the Guam Waterworks Authority flags a continued high rate of leakage in the system. The head of GWA acknowledges the need to improve on the unaccounted for water loss, and says they've been pouring big money into capital improvements to fix a very old system.

The Office of Public Accountability reports that 58% of the water GWA produces is leaking out. GWA general manager Miguel Bordallo says it's actually slightly less than that, using American Waterworks Authority standards, but still not where they want to be. "Our goal would be to be on par with the national average for unaccounted for water loss and that percentage will be significantly lower than the 53% we are currently experiencing," he shared.

GWA is hoping all the money it's spending on capital improvements, such as online replacements, will help plug the leaks. GWA has been under a court order to bring the water system up to federal epa standards.  GWA has local approval to borrow more than $670 million in bond money, and has raised rates to pay the debts. He added, "The OPA's comments about the magnitude of the rate increases shouldn't be a surprise because they were approved as part of the five-year rate plan in order for us to achieve the funding, the CIP funding, that we needed on the bond market."

They are in the fourth year of the plan approved by the CCU and PUC, and in fact Bordallo says they only raised rates 3.5%, instead of the approved 7%. What's of more concern to the CCU is that recent revenues are off 9% from projected targets.  Bordallo blames a slow response time in correcting low or no consumption accounts, saying, "My challenge now is trying to address those issues operationally and improve communication between our customer service, whose in charge of the meters, and our finance folks and our operations folks."

He expects to fix the process, and increase revenue by the next quarter. 

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