CAASD water meters worth RD$4,500 stolen and sold for RD$65
SD. During recent months, the Santo Domingo Water and Sewer Corporation (CAASD) has been the victim of constant stealing of the water meters and now has a 3,000 unit deficit.
The information was offered by the deputy director of Operations of the water company, Luis Salcedo, as he expressed the worry over this problem which has caused losses of around RD$13,500,000.
Each of the water meters, which are used at the connections to houses, has a cost of RD$4,500 to the CAASD, and according to the information which the corporation’s executives have, this equipment is sold to scrap metal dealers for just RD$65 pesos.
“We are the victims of meter theft just to take a small bronze piece which is sold for RD$65 pesos,” said Salcedo, after indicating that the director of the CAASD, Alejandro Montas has met personally with the Chief of Police in an attempt to put a stop to the problem.
And it is exactly the installation of water meters that is one of the mainstays of the CAASD’s effort to control the waste of water, which is estimated to be as much as 60% of the water sent through the aqueduct.
At the present time they are producing some 16 cubic meters (m3) of water per second in order to supply a population of some 3,126,036 inhabitants distributed in an area of 1,477 square kilometers (km2) which represents the National District and the province of Santo Domingo.
Salcedo calculates that the population be served with barely 9 m3 of water if the people were conscious of the need to conserve. In order for it to be rational use, persons should be satisfied with 250 liters of water a day; nevertheless they are currently consuming an average of 416 liters per person per day.
This “waste”, which the CAASD calculates as a function of the difference between the production and the water invoiced. The “waste” is attributed to the physical losses through the pipes as well as the lack of efficient collections.
The CAASD barely invoices 356,865 customers, 206,473 in the National District and 150,392 in the province of Santo Domingo.
For this, they have 71,348 meters installed in the National District and another 29,483 in the province, with a total of 135,000 customers being metered. This is equal to barely 38% of the total customers registered, since the remaining 62% pay a fixed amount.
Nevertheless, it is precisely this non-metered sector where the highest consumption is registered, although it is the sector that pays the least, according to Salcedo.
The percentage of payment from the metered customers is at 92.86% and the un-metered show only 36.84%. The former provide 82% of the income for the CAASD against the 18% of the latter.
“The ones that waste the most water are those that have a set amount, since they know that they will always pay the same no matter what they consume. Now, the person that has a meter controls the use of water, because if the water bill goes up, he goes and complains.”
Because of this, the CAASD wants to provide meters to customers. In 2013, the entity installed a total of 23,000 water meters and has the installation of another 200,000 over the next two years.
Of this number, they plan to use between 20% and 25% to replace some damaged meters and the remaining equipment to capture the non-regulated customers.
“The idea is to include them all, but the priority is to raise the consciousness and be able to say to the people that because of the number of inhabitants that there is in the place, consumption should be about this much, but they are using so much,” stressed Salcedo.
The practice of stealing metals is reinforced by a business that is becoming ever larger in the country, such as the export of metal scrap.
Just last year there were 270,583,680 kilograms exported, with a value of US$124,862,808.
Of the total exported, 244,389,509 kilograms were iron and steel waste and scrap, and 6,949,650 kilograms of copper waste and scrap.
The total amount of bronze exported reached 103,831 kilograms.
In 2012, then director of the Center for Exports and Investment of the Dominican Republic (CEI-RD), Eddy Martinez, called the theft of metals a “criminal act” and pointed out that the business was related to the export of waste and scrap metals.
Frequently, public and private businesses, especially the telephone companies and electricity distributors, complain of the theft of their cables and equipment.
Category: DR News |