Singapore Science Centre Partners PUB to raise awareness on water in Singapore

In 2005, Singapore’s PUB and Singapore Science Centre embarked on a partnership to promote water. The first project under this partnership was Waterworks, the permanent exhibition at the Science Centre. "Using our expertise in developing fun and educational exhibits and programmes, the Singapore Science Centre is pleased to partner with PUB to launch our first water play area to explain the science behind a number of water phenomena, such as the water vortices, and the coander effect," said Dr Chew Tuan Chiong, Chief Executive, Singapore Science Centre. PUB was keen to leverage on the Singapore Science Centre's strong links with students in its aim for the young to inculcate good water habits. Besides Waterworks, the Singapore Science Centre and PUB have also worked on various projects under this partnership.The Singapore Science Centre helped to conceptualise PUB's new roving Water For All exhibition which included an interactive model showing the water catchment that is a hit with residents at many community roadshows. Under a "twinning" programme, the Singapore Science Centre would hold enrichment programmes at the NEWater Visitor Centre, the pillar of PUB's public education efforts on NEWater. Other projects include the Young Water Ambassador programme, an extension of the Singapore Science Centre's Young Scientist badge programme.

PUB subsidiary MOU with Saudi Arabia's research institute

PUB’s subsidiary, Singapore Utilities International Pte Ltd (SUI), has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Saudi Arabia’s Saline Water Conversion Corporation (SWCC). Both SUI and SWCC will collaborate in research to improve the efficiency of water production plants and develop innovative technologies in order to keep water production at reasonable cost. Both agencies will jointly participate in applied research and development projects pertaining to potable water supply plus other water desalination-related infrastructure and activities. The research will be carried out by the Saline Water Desalination Research Institute (SWDRI), the research arm of SWCC, and the Centre for Advanced Water Technology (CAWT), the research arm of SUI. SWCC, the largest single producer of desalinated water in the world, is a Saudi government corporation responsible for desalinating seawater, in order to augment the supply of potable water to coastal and inland cities in the Kingdom. To develop desalination technologies,optimise plant operation and solve plants operation and maintenance problems, SWCC established SWDRI in 1987. “The MOU represents a closer relationship between Saudi Arabia and Singapore in facing the challenges to curb the issue of water scarcity. I look forward to harvesting the fruit of this collaboration,” said Mr Hirubalan VP, Singapore’s Ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

PUB Singapore: Towards zero accidents

PUB, the national water agency, commemorates World Day for Safety and Health. In commemoration of this day devoted to safety, PUB will be holding its annual Safety Day tomorrow and its theme is Towards Zero Accidents. The national water agency has been improving its safety records. In its construction projects last year, PUB achieved a cumulative accident frequency rate of 2.22 accidents per million man-hours, down from 2.87 accidents the year before. This is way below the industry average of 3 accidents per million man-hours. PUB’s cumulative severity rate of 48 man-days lost per million man-hours worked is also an improvement from the 53 man-days in the previous year. This translates to 12% of the industry average of 403 man-days. Most of the accidents that had occurred were mainly minor injuries involving contractors’ workers.

Boosting Performance through Twinning

Twinning as a development strategy has been around since the first millennium. In many cases, towns, universities, and other entities located in geographically distinct areas, but sharing similar characteristics, pair off to foster human contact, cultural exchange, or knowledge sharing. ADB has adopted and improved on this strategy for its Water Operators’ Partnership (WOPs) Program. The WOPs program promotes knowledge sharing and builds the capacity of water operators and utilities in the Asia and the Pacific region. Among its key initiatives is the twinning of 20 water utilities and operators. With the exception the Phnom Penh Water Supply Authority (Cambodia) and Binh Duong Water Supply Sewerage Environment Company (Viet Nam) partnership, which commenced in July 2007, ADB has completed six of seven currently operational twinning arrangements between November 2007 to June 2008.

PUPs in water sector

The concept of a public–public partnership (PuP) was developed in the context of the aggressive promotion of international financial institutions (IFIs) like Asian Development Bank and World Bank of public–private partnerships (PPPs) in water service delivery. Public-Public Partnerships (PUPs) are new partnerships developed between public water operators, communities, trade unions and other key groups, without profit motive and on a basis of equality. In addition, PUPs are also being created when well-performing public utilities are matched or ‘twinned’ with those that are not-so-well performing to share expertise on a not-for-profit basis in order to improve the standard of the lesser performing utility. This kind of partnership is sometimes called ‘Water Operators Partnership’ (WOP). The partners may come from within the same country – ‘local PUPs’ - or from other countries - ‘international PUPs’. PuPs are most effective when all partners have an understanding of each other's goals and are willing to work together to reach their shared goals. In all these partnerships, the aim is to address common causes of public service failure and secure affordable clean water for all.

Training on Performance Benchmarking for Philippine Water Districts (A 'PUP')

Benchmarking is a tool used to measure performance of a water utility through a set of technical, financial, social indicators, with ultimate goal to improve its quality and performance. If undertaken on a regular basis, benchmarking supports utilities in assessing progress, and promotes accountability by making information available to public, decision-makers, regulators. Of the more than 500 water districts in the Philippines, less than 200 have been benchmarked.

Labor-Management Cooperation: A PUP in Benchmarking Water Utilities

Benchmarking is used to measure the performance of a water utility through a set of technical, financial, and social/environmental indicators (e.g., service level, service quality, operational efficiency, and financial management). Also included are broader performance dimensions such as water resources management, policy and regulation, private sector participation, small-scale service providers, wastewater and sanitation, and urban flood management. Benchmarking is a key management tool that can assist managers in understanding how their performance compares over time, and with their peers. If benchmarking contributes to improving the utility’s performance, customers will benefit when savings result in improved service and/or lower tariffs. The ultimate goal is to improve quality and performance of WSS service.

Workers as key water stakeholders & building PUPs

Water is a human right, and access to safe, sufficient and affordable water is essential to equity. The Alliance of Government Workers in the Water Sector and other PSI unions in 160 countries demand safe and affordable water for all and are working to build quality public water services to all citizens. This is not an easy task when public utilities are being given very small budgets that they cannot afford to pay a living wage to its workers, ensure proper training or supply the necessary safety equipment, let alone to invest in expanding and maintaining the network to those not served. Governments must invest in water and sanitation and develop public-public partnerships (PUPs). Water management must be public, effective and responsive to public interests. PSI stresses the need to consult workers and their unions in all efforts to build quality public services (QPS) in the water sector.

Water Utility Management Models for Small Towns – Philippines

Five types: LGUs - Local government units; Water Districts; RWSAs - Rural water and sanitation associations; Cooperatives - multi purpose cooperatives; Private sector. Community-based management models (RWSAs & cooperatives) are successful in smaller systems when given support to operate like small businesses (metering, billing & collection, commercial accounting); professionalize management thru training. Key is the provision of professional support. Local knowledge & community involvement reduce costs. Water districts provide better alternative for the larger towns with provide better alternative -- strong financial management; better institutional performance; good technical & professional capacity. LWUA provides technical, financial and institutional support to water districts. Direct LGU water supply management has proven ineffective due to -- constraints imposed by government constraints imposed by government financial and management systems financial and management systems; inadequate local funding capacity inadequate local funding capacity; shortage of technical and managerial shortage of technical and managerial expertise expertise; low tariffs resulting in low revenues, low tariffs resulting in low revenues, subsidies. Most private service providers private service providers are discouraged by conditions in small towns discouraged by conditions in small towns such as -- low population densities and high per low population densities and high per capita investment costs capita investment costs; high risks and low profits. The few private companies providing urban water supply are in towns with urban water supply are in towns with population above 100,000 in affluent areas.

Philippines - Small Water Utilities Improvement and Financing (SWIF)

Financing issues related to small water enterprises
- Considering cash flow and credit standing vs balance sheet in determining bankability
- Loan terms
- Understanding of water supply operations by financing institution staff
- Transaction cost for servicing small utilities
- Small in value, but will avail of a loan more often
- Requirements of utilities as they become larger (longer gestating projects)
- Impact of short franchise periods

Benchmarking Experiences in India and Philippines

Includes - Benchmarking Urban Water Supply & Sanitation in South Asia; Benchmarking of Small Towns Water Supply in the Philippines;Lessons Learned from the 2 WSP Projects; The Way Forward

Performance Benchmarking

Benchmarking objective –
• Short Term:
– Improve delivery of selected services or operational processes
• Medium Term
- Institutionalize change process
- Build capacity of staff to initiate change
- Establish sustainable exchange process on experience among network members

NRW Reduction of Naga City Water District

In partnership with the Metro Naga Water District, the Naga City government intends to use the TXTNAGA hotline as a channel through which city residents and MNWD customers alike can participate more actively in managing and protecting our precious water resources, by immediately reporting cases of leaking water connections.

UNISON Twinning

UNISON is committed to developing our international work through practical solidarity links with trade unions and trade unionists in other countries. By exchanging information and experiences, developing mutual support, improving awareness, and stimulating practical action by trade unionists, in the social, political and industrial areas of their lives, we can better understand each other and offer and receive support where necessary. One way of achieving this is through twinning with a union at branch, regional or national level with a comparable union in another country. Currently UNISON branches and regions are twinned with unions in South Africa and Cuba and we are working to extend this to Colombia, Nicaragua and other areas. We should also consider developing twining arrangements with unions in such areas as the new and existing members of the EU, as well as the rest of the world. Twinnings can operate in different ways depending on what both parties hope to achieve through the relationship. The twinning may be initiated as a strategic alliance between workers in different countries working for the same employer for example, or it may be to give solidarity and support to a union struggling against such things as human rights violations, poverty and discrimination.

Huancayo, Peru PUP Technical Cooperation

The purpose of Agreement is to establish reciprocal technical collaboration and assistance between “ABSA” and “SEDAM Hyo.” In relation to the water and sewerage services that they provide. “ABSA” and “SEDAM Hyo.” promise to maintain a system of cooperation allowing the coordination of work effected in the interests of both organisations. This collaboration will be effected on a basis of equality and mutual benefit by making the best use of their levels of action, in accordance with the possibilities and experience of both organisations.

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