NEWLY appointed Water and Sewerage Company (WASCO) chief executive Futho Hoohlo has set his sights on curbing the company’s high revenue leakages to improve service delivery.
Mr Hoohlo, who commenced his new job this week on a three-year contract, said non-revenue water (NRW) was one of the company’s biggest challenges.
In an exclusive interview with the Lesotho Times this week, Mr Hoohlo said the company hopes to address this challenge by revamping its old operating infrastructure, which causes water leakages resulting in high levels of NRW.
Mr Hoohlo said that the company losses up to 40 percent of its produced water due to the aging infrastructure and pilferage.
He said 40 percent was too high compared to their 24 percent target.
“Non-revenue water is one of our biggest problems because our target is 24 percent,” Mr Hoohlo said.
“However, the actual figures of the water that we lose is around 40 percent, with many pipe bursts being one of the factors.”
He indicated however, that raising the necessary funds to replace the old infrastructure would be a challenge.
“Our core business is to extract raw water from the sources, then process it though our water treatment plants, distribute it to our customers which, is where we generate our revenue, and then collect it from our customers after use, to treat it and dispose it off in an environmentally acceptable state.
“And to achieve all this, you need robust infrastructure as that is the foundation upon which our revenue collection is based. The condition of your infrastructure determines the number of customers that you can reach.
“If infrastructure that is supposed to support your revenue collections falters, the revenue you are supposed to generate will be affected and in turn affect the services you are able to do.
“So, the issue of the aging infrastructure is a priority in addressing our revenue collection but obviously, under the current situation where we are unable to collect revenue at the required levels and depending on the government for finances, we are unable to immediately replace it all at once. If it were up to us we would replace it all in one go. Right now we have to cascade it.”
He said they were yet to calculate how much would be needed to replace the old infrastructure.
“Another issue that I will be tackling is the need to come up with innovative financing models of some of our operations and not just rely on being bailed out by the government. There are funds that we can apply for, or we can even start selling bonds to raise capital to support those infrastructure projects. These are some of the things we will be considering going forward,” Mr Hoohlo said.