Building Workers’ Capacity in Performance Benchmarking of Public Water Utilities

A Public-Public Partnership (PUP)
By Victor Chiong, Alliance of Government Workers in Water Sector (AGWWAS), Philippines

Public-Public Partnerships in Health and Essential Services

This review paper was commissioned jointly by the Southern African Regional Network on Equity in Health (EQUINET) and the Municipal Services Project (MSP) to gather information to act as a baseline (concept paper) for additional research by the MSP and EQUINET. It aims to provide information on the state of research on ‘public-public partnerships’ (PuPs), an analysis of the conceptual and logistical framework of PuPs that have been implemented, and a discussion of the lessons to be learned from PuPs in southern Africa and elsewhere.

PUPs as catalyst for capacity building and institutional development

This report explores the developmental potential of Public-Public Partnerships in the water sector, in light of Stockholm Vatten's experience in Kaunas, Lithuania and Riga, Latvia.

Public Investments in Sewers Saves Lives

Without sewers, more children die, and those who survive suffer in terms of physical growth and educational attainment. Donor policies and advice on sewers are wrong in three key respects. Sewers in cities are not optional extras but essential. Sewers need to be financed by taxation not user charges. And sewers in cities are affordable for most countries, many of whom are already investing in sewers in their cities. The aid needed is concentrated in a few countries, and this is affordable for rich countries. Provides good examples of Japan PUPs in sewerage.

Self-assessment Matrix on Nonrevenue Water

Indicators/issues include: (1) Water Balance, Flow and Pressure Monitoring (2) Leak repair records (3) Performance indicators (4) Active leakage control (5) Customer metering.

Ilocos Norte Water District

Laoag and the Ilocos Norte Water District
The Ilocos Norte Water District (INWD) has a large service area, covering several municipalities in the northern portion of the Luzon Province of the Philippines. Its service area includes the city of Laoag, with a population in the range of 95 000 people. The INWD has been unable to achieve a high percentage of coverage for the city of Laoag. One of the main constraints faced by the INWD is a lack of funding. There are currently negotiations with a private bank to secure new financing, but this has not yet been approved. In theory, the water refilling stations that are the freshwater source for many households are supposed to have water permits that ensure that they get their water directly from the INWD, but this rule is not always enforced. The city faces scarcity problems in the summer months, as their water sources are springs and shallow wells.

Baguio Water District

Baguio is a city of roughly 250 000 permanent residents located north of Manila in the Luzon Province of the Philippines. Its population increases during the summer months, as a result of visitors drawn to its cool mountain weather as an escape from the hotter lowlands. The Baguio Water District is main water provider for the city; the city government used to manage the system, but ran into problems and so transferred the responsibility to the water district.
Springs and rivers from the mountainous areas provide some alternate sources of water, but the primary water supply for the city is groundwater. Many households in the city still do not have adequate water access from the Water District, and so numerous water filling stations and water vendors fill in the gaps. These small-scale independent providers generally have their own deep wells. In theory, water extraction by the independent providers is regulated by the Water District, but this does not always happen in practice.
Water supply is dependent on a stable power supply, since pumping groundwater to the city’s high elevation is energy intensive. There is an issue of water scarcity, but one that should not be necessary in an area with a high seasonal rainfall.
The topography and elevation of the city pose unique challenges to water access in the area. The threat of earthquakes presents problems for laying piped infrastructure, and many pipes in the city are above ground. The high elevation means that energy needs are high for water provision, as the pumping is energy intensive. There are debates between Local Government Unit officials about where the source water should come from, since it currently is drawn from groundwater, but little is known about the extent of the groundwater reserves and the threat of subsidence is a concern for the area. Now, the government is attempting to improve water management, and has just released a sustainable water integrated management and governance plan to deal with some of the problems.

Tagbilaran water (Philippines)

Tagbilaran is located on the island of Bohol in the Visayas region of the Philippines. It is a city of approximately 90 000 people, that relies predominantly on groundwater for water provision. There are two main water suppliers: the city water utility, and a separate joint venture between a private company and the provincial government. There are also numerous small-scale independent water vendors, mainly in the form of refilling stations.
Water extraction from the aquifers is dependent on energy, which is obtained primarily from outside of the city. Leyte, which has a geothermal plant, provides Tagbilaran with electricity via underwater cables. This dependence on an external energy source for water access means that the city is particularly vulnerable to outside variability and shocks; this was seen when Leyte was hit by an earthquake that disrupted its energy transmission.
The groundwater resources that the city relies on are largely unknown, and there are concerns that the city may be in danger of subsidence. Tagbilaran faces significant danger from saltwater intrusion into its freshwater aquifers, and several wells have been closed because of contamination. The government has enlisted researchers to study the groundwater resources of the city and surrounding region, and is also exploring options for alternate water sources, including the Loboc River, but these projects have not yet been completed.

Case studies - Manila Water, Maynilad, Tagbilaran, Laoag, Baguio and Ilocos Norte water districts

Urban water management has specific institutional challenges that must be addressed in order to improve freshwater access in developing countries. This paper uses case studies from the Philippines to address the political and regulatory barriers that hinder improvements to water services. The central aim is to move past the typical public versus private debate that has dominated international discussions about investment and management of water utilities over the last two decades.
The paper describes the scope of the water access problems, examines the need to move past ideology in water management decisions, provides case study examples to illustrate relevant issues, suggests context-specific factors that must be considered, and develops suggestions for policy approaches to reform. The main conclusions are that decision makers need to consult with a broader spectrum of stakeholders when undertaking water sector reform, better understand the local context and existing water provision systems before enacting new regulations and structures, draw on theories and experiences of institutional organization to find context-appropriate systems for water resources, and increase transparency, accountability, and flexibility in governance. Case studies from Manila Water, Maynilad, Tagbilaran, Laoag, Baguio and Ilocos Norte water districts.

ADB-WOPs: MCWD (Philippines) & City West Water (Australia)

In Feb 2009, ADB organized the 1st Twinning Regional Forum held at the K Water Academy in Daejeon, Korea where for the first time, ADB-sponsored twinning utilities met to discuss twinning progress and processes and learn from each others’ best practices. ADB newsletter WATERMARKS ( reports the following ‘significant results’, despite delays in the start up phase of various twinning partnerships:

? Metro Cebu Water District (Philippines) has applied advice from its twinning partner City West Water Australia with remarkable early results. They have exceeded their 15% NRW reduction target in a pilot zone by cutting the level from 39% in September 2008 to 12% in January 2009.

ADB-WOPs: PPWSA (Cambodia) - BIWASE (Vietnam) twinning

In Feb 2009, ADB organized the 1st Twinning Regional Forum held at the K Water Academy in Daejeon, Korea where for the first time, ADB-sponsored twinning utilities met to discuss twinning progress and processes and learn from each others’ best practices. ADB newsletter WATERMARKS ( ) reports the following ‘significant results’, despite delays in the start up phase of various twinning partnerships:

? After visiting their expert twin Phnom Penh Water Supply Authority (Cambodia), Binh Duong Water Supply Sewerage Environment Company (BIWASE-Vietnam) realized the need for a systematic training of their staff and quickly established a new training department.

JUSCO benchmarked data 2007

2007 Benchmarking and Data Book of Water Utilities in India - JAMSHEDPUR UTILITIES & SERVICES COMPANY LIMITED
Jamshedpur Utilities & Services Co., Ltd. (JUSCO) is a private company that was formerly the Towns Division of Tata Steel but was spinned off in 2003. The former entity built and has been operating the water supply system and other municipal services since 1919. JUSCO provides

PUPs in recent ADB documents

Finally, and after largely ignoring PUPs in Bank strategies and approaches on water with its sole focus on promoting private-private partnerships (PPPs), the Bank has of late been making particular – albeit brief – mention of ‘public-public partnership schemes’. Below are instances of this acknowledgement of PUPs which may yet signal a slight shift in the Bank’s approach and provide an opening to PUP advocates, especially in light of ADB’s focus on WOPs:
• “I offer three key messages for consideration in the Asian Dialogue, and by the UNSGAB: (i) deliver drinking water immediately to all; (ii) aim for total sanitation coverage by communities; and (iii) move water and sanitation up on the national agenda. ... A variety of new public-public partnership schemes are possible. We have documented new ideas, new attempts, and new success stories.“(emphasis mine) – By ADB’s Principal Water Supply and Sanitation Specialist, at the 8th Session of the United Nations Secretary-General’s Advisory Board on Water and Sanitation (Shanghai, May 2007); Also his opening remarks at the Inception Workshop on Benchmarking and Water Utilities Data Book for India (Chennai, November 2007). (a)
• “Recently, international development agencies made more efforts towards promoting private investments and nonsovereign lending in financing of urban waster and sanitation. On the other hand, the public-public partnership is gaining new interest by the region’s utilities (emphasis mine). – In promotional brochure of ADB-organized session on "Financing Water and Sanitation in Asian Cities" in 4th World Urban Forum (Nanjing, November 08). (b)
• “ADB is a development bank…. Many options have been suggested and tried including various forms of public private partnerships. The results are mixed. Recently, ADB’s own review also suggested a public-public partnership and promotion of knowledge sharing within the Asia region …. Last November 2008, in Nanjing World Urban Forum, the presentation made by K-Water attracted so much interest because of the unique partnership adopted by K-water with local governments (which is a PUP; emphasis mine).” – Opening Speech by Director, ADB-South Asia Urban Development Division at the 1st Twinning Regional Forum (Daejeon, February 2009). (c)

PUP: Korea Water/Korea – DWASA/Bangladesh twinning

Dhaka Water Supply and Sewerage Authority (DWASA) serves 10 million customers and relies on ground water as its source, including wells and the nearby river. It has great difficulty sustaining high water quality and service continuity. In contrast, its twinning partner— K Water— has superior water quality results and provides 24/7 supply to an equally large population. In this twinning deal, improving water quality is the immediate target. K Water is a state-owned water utility responsible for water resources management and bulk water supply; it has assisted local governments with capacity building and technical consultancy for their water supply systems since 1980s. With its financial and technical capabilities and community support, K-water has gained a reputation for its expertise and seen as an alternative to private sector and as a partner for water services delivery.

PUP: City West Water/Australia – MCWD/Philippines twinning

Metropolitan Cebu Water District (MCWD) is a well-run utility that serves over a million people. The utility targets further reducing its NRW, which has already been cut from around 50% a few years ago to the current 28% average. It anticipates getting performance benefits by twinning with Melbourne-based City West Water whose customer base is more than three times that of Cebu and NRW just under 9%. When the twinning was initiated, City West pulled together a team of engineers and technicians all keen to apply their skills and knowledge in a totally different environment. Largely funded by ADB, City Water’s involvement in the partnership program commenced in June 2008 with a visit by key members of its engineering team to MCWD, a government-owned water company in a busy, vibrant and fast-growing metropolis. Despite its rapid growth, Cebu is the oldest city and also has the oldest water pipe network in the Philippines. And to make matters worse, many of the pipes are above-ground and exposed, making them prone to damage. The first goal was to reduce unaccounted-for water (water lost through bursts, leaks and un-metered usage) to 15%. With this diagnostics, City West has broken down the project into a number of steps: (a) Planning – collecting data about the Cebu network, location of all water pipes, maintenance history and flow data, field surveys to confirm the location of specific pipes, expected to take 3 months. (b) Resourcing – determining cost, manpower and equipment needs, as well as funding sources. (c) Implementation – works will commence to be undertaken by MCWD with guidance from City West Water employees (who will be on-site in Cebu when required). (d) Completion of the project – when all works have been finalized, learnings would be brought together into a ‘best practice’ workshop and maintenance program for the MCWD. In addition, City West will conduct training and information sessions with MCWD employees and invite members of the MCWD team to visit Melbourne to gain a thorough understanding of its systems. City West Water is one of three retail water businesses in metropolitan Melbourne owned by the Victorian Government; it provides drinking water, sewerage, trade waste and recycled water services to approximately 276,000 residential and 31,300 non-residential (industrial and commercial) customers.

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