Faced with criticism from some of the MLAs for failure to supply sufficient water to some areas of the State, Goa Minister for Public Works Ramkrishna Dhavlikar on Monday vowed to bring down the high level of non revenue water (NRW) from 40 per cent to 20 per cent by 2016.

The minister admitted at a press conference in the city on Monday that this was one of the areas which needed urgent attention.

Under Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) water project, already the State government has accepted four packages and work orders have been issued. Already 60 per cent of the works have been completed under the JICA project, he said while defending himself against the criticism that Rs.1,031-crore JICA project in Goa is proceeding at a slow pace.

Mr. Dhavlikar claimed that it was only after the present government took over in March 2012 that JICA project was stepped up. Seriously concerned about the need to reduce the high percentage of NRW, Goa had created an NRW management cell, a special wing of engineers to help implement its long-term plan of reducing NRW.

As against the national benchmark of 20 per cent NRW, Goa had a whopping 42 per cent NRW, which he said on Monday, had already come down marginally below 40 per cent. Significantly, Japan, Goa’s international project financier, operates at 5 per cent NRW level.

As it is working on a project to provide 24x7 water supply to the entire population by 2035 through a Japanese-aided project, Goa’s Public Works Department (PWD) authorities admit that NRW — consumable water that is deemed lost due to leakage, theft or non-working meters — needs to be addressed. The State’s leading tourism industry takes around 15 MLD water, he said.