An exclusive interview with Stuart Hamilton, Director of International Business Development at MIYA and Head of Non-Revenue Water Projects, on how the NRW (non-revenue water) project can secure Jordan’s precarious water future.
By Adam Robertson
Stuart Hamilton of European water operator and delivery of water projects worldwide MIYA, underlines the precarious future of water in Jordan and the pressing need for viable and effective solutions to mitigate the deterioration of the situation. Drawing on 15 years of experience, hundreds of projects around the world benefiting millions of people and eight awards, Hamilton is convinced that MIYA can alleviate much of Jordan’s water problems with the company’s best methodologies and cutting-edge technologies.
In urban areas, Jordanian households have intermittent access to water for about 12 to 36 hours a week, according to Minister of Water and Irrigation Mohammad Al Najjar. In rural areas, this figure is much worse, with these households benefiting from 12 to 36 hours of water each Three weeks, according to Water Authority Secretary General Bashar Bataineh. What is causing this and why is Jordan’s water security situation so dire?
Jordan has a significant level of non-revenue water – known for short as NRW – which is either wasted or unrevenue water. On average across Jordan, NRW accounts for 5% of what is produced, with leaking water from pipes accounting for 40% of that.
In simple terms this means that for every 100 liters that enter the system, 40 liters are lost to the ground.
Bringing in more water supplies with the current situation will be economically disastrous and should not – and cannot – be considered a solution to Jordan’s current situation. For any contribution to the country’s water security to be sustainable, its NRW has to be reduced for the long-term safety and benefit of its inhabitants.
UNICEF estimates square unbilled water levels at 52% in the Kingdom. Since this is a priority area for by MIYA business plan, what is non-revenue water?
NRW is water that is not billed and lost from the system. This is not just limited to pipe leaks; this also includes theft, misreading of meters, poor quality of meters and not all water being registered, in addition to other things, such as missed connections and unbilled customers .
In many cases, with a planned and operated NRW project, enough water is available to provide a constant supply to customers.
With reduced commercial losses, more revenue will go to the water company itself, which means less reliance on government subsidies or outside financial institutions. To MIYAwe are recognized experts in solving these problems.
With countless water operators around the world, which makes MIYA unique among its competitors?
MIYA maintains high standards and has a scope and depth of work that sets us apart from our competitors. Because we are not the largest water company in the world, we are not as constrained by “bureaucracy” as others may be.
In many cases, large companies cannot handle problems as they arise and are unable to make quick and smart decisions to benefit the project while the work is in progress.
by MIYA single strategy is:
- roadmap of 3 to 5 years,
- 10-year strategy,
- Vision over 25 years.
This allows both MIYA and the client to work together towards long-term goals while providing real-time solutions.
MIYA has already completed 200 projects worldwide in its 15 years of experience. Which of these projects was the most successful?
Out of by MIYA extensive portfolio of works, there are three key projects that stand out the most.
These include our project with Maynilad in the Philippines, where we reduced NRW from 63% to 34%; our project with the Water and Sewerage Corporation (WSC) in the Bahamas, which has already saved an average of 18 million liters of water per day; and our project with the National Water Commission (NWC) in Jamaica, where we were able to reduce NRW enough to adequately supply water to an additional 600,000 people.
What efforts has Jordan already made to combat the alarming projections? How can MIYA go further in these efforts?
Currently, Jordan is delivering probably the biggest project ever by bringing water from the Red Sea near Aqaba and pumping that desalinated water to Amman.
A recent Arab News says local organizations are trying to restore land and harvest water smartly in Jordan to fight desertification. How does it work and how can it complement the work that MIYA has planned ?
In reality, any water saving or use of rainwater harvesting elements should be encouraged, as this avoids stressing the water distribution system. There are several ways to do this, and MIYA supports and promotes all these ideas and their implementation.
Given the severity of Jordan’s dwindling water supply, how long do you estimate it would take before its citizens would see measurable improvements?
If Jordan, especially Amman and its surroundings, initiates a program to reduce NRW and real losses, some benefits will begin to be felt in just six months. Greater long-term benefits may take three to five years to be felt by the wider community. For NRW (non-revenue water) projects of this size, significant work and investment must be devoted to repairs and renewal of pipes, which takes time.
In short, the sooner a project is launched, the sooner more Jordanians will have regular access to water.
Once a project is complete, how MIYA ensure the long-term operational functionality of the resulting solutions?
To MIYA, we strive to transfer knowledge to host companies, equipping their staff with the technical know-how and tools to capitalize on our success. Once our project is completed, this will enable the host water company to continue to deliver on our promises, ensure the future-proofing of our solutions and position the water company as a regional leader in the water sector.
What do you personally envision for the future of water in Jordan?
In all fairness, Jordan’s future is very bleak if the issue continues to be ignored for the next few years. It is a downward spiral that must not only be stopped, but reversed. The faster the spiral picks up speed without serious intervention, the longer it will take to stop.
The best possible intervention at this stage for Jordan is a massive NRW project – of a scale and quality that only MIYA has the expertise to provide.
By Adam Robertson
Want to know more about MIYA and its solutions to the water crisis in Jordan? Be sure to read Venture’s full four-part series at the links below: