Chinese Water Utility to Adopt Philippine Service Model

Manila’s Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) hosted the Yancheng China Water Company (YCWC) December 8-12, 2008 in Manila, Philippines for a hands-on training on developing a customer feedback system known as the Public Assessment of Water Services (PAWS) program. The trainees observed enumerators for MWSS as they conducted field interviews, and watched laboratory simulations showcasing various systems being used for the PAWS program. The delegation also visited the water treatment facilities of MWSS and a customer call center. On their return to China, the trainees will design their own customer survey form, which will be reviewed by MWSS and finalized during additional training scheduled for March in China.

Singapore water industry making inroads into China

Ten of Singapore’s major water industry players are in China for a five-day trade mission led by Minister for the Environment and Water Resources, Dr Yaacob Ibrahim. Currently, there are a number of Singapore companies such as Sembcorp Utilities, Hyflux, Salcon, Aromatrix, Keppel, Singapore Utilities International that are already engaged in water-related projects in various provinces across China. Hyflux, for example, has a number of projects in China, the biggest of which is the US$97 million (RMB 775 million) Tianjin Dagang SingSpring Desalination Plant in Bohai Bay which will also be the largest desalination plant in China so far. Salcon is another Singaporean water company that has a significant presence in China. It has been in China since 1990 and has completed 69 projects in various Chinese cities and provinces. One of the most recent projects that Salcon has secured is to design, build and operate a water treatment plant that can treat 40,000 cubic metres of water daily in Tianjin. Two agreements were signed between Singapore and Chinese companies. A memorandum of understanding (MOU) was signed by Singapore’s Institute of Environmental Science and Engineering (IESE) and Glowtec with Beijing Watergen Membrane Technology to jointly commercialise membranes developed by IESE/Glowtec and manufactured by Beijing Watergen Membrane Technology. The second MOU was signed between Keppel Integrated Engineering and China National Environmental Protection Corporation to jointly explore environmental business opportunities in sludge and biomass energy.

ADB and Water-WSS

ADB's Water Policy, approved in 2001, describes water as a “socially vital economic good”. ADB water policy covers water utilities, sanitation and other water infrastructure (e.g. irrigation). It promotes full cost recovery, water entitlements and “tradable water rights”, and private sector participation. The policy also ushered a “new generation” of water projects for the Bank. These include water policy reforms that promote private sector participation (PSP) in water supply/sanitation (WSS) in such countries as Sri Lanka, Nepal, China, Indonesia, Cambodia, Laos, Pakistan, Vietnam and Philippines. According to ADB, private sector participation (PSP) or public private participation (PPP) seeks to fuse the skills, expertise, and experience from the public and private sectors to deliver high standard services to customers. The public sector offers expertise in governance, responsibility to the electorate, access to funding, appreciation of local cultural sensitivities as well as a local workforce, many with long years of service. The contribution from the private sector includes operational efficiencies, innovative technologies, international managerial experience, access to additional finance, and risk sharing. "There are several PSP models and no single model will suit all situations," says Kallidaikurichi Seetharam, ADB senior water supply and sanitation specialist. "PSP must be tailored to meet local infrastructure, affordability, cultural norms, etc. ADB does not advocate PSP exclusively. It advocates efficient, reliable, accessible water supply and sanitation services for all, which may require the involvement of private sector expertise."

Stocktaking of Water and Sanitation Sector and Private Sector Involvement in Selected Asian Countries

This background note is part of a wider program carried out by the OECD on “Sustainable financing to ensure affordable access to water and sanitation.” The program includes the development of practical guidance for governments wishing to engage the private sector in the development and management of water and sanitation infrastructure, based on the newly released OECD Principles for Private Sector Participation in Infrastructure.

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