Benchmarking Initiatives in Asia-Pacific & PUPs

Benchmarking is a means of collection and comparison of key performance between utilities in a country, region or worldwide. With benchmarking, water utilities can monitor, assess their performance, identify strong and weak points, and develop timely solutions to their problems. Water utilities can develop partnerships and share best practices to improve services. Benchmarking networks include IBNET, OFWAT, ADERASA, and SEAWUN, SAWUN and CASCWUA. IBNET is an international benchmarking network for water and sanitation facilities started by World Bank in the late 1990’s. In the Philippines, benchmarking was initiated in 2005, with the release of Small Town Water Utilities Data Book consisting 20 small utilities. In 2006, a second edition was released with the participation of 45 utilities, with 18 of them water districts. PAWD also initiated its own benchmarking project in 2005.
A Water Utilities Data Book published by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) in 1997 identified the top four best-performing utilities as:  Singapore; Johor Bahru (Malaysia); Davao City WD (Philippines); Metro Cebu WD (Philippines).  Based on benchmarking data, ADB further evaluated the performance of 18 Asian water utilities which concluded that there was a marginal improvement overall in 1997-2002. The improvements had been:  (a) Customer satisfaction up; (b) Water resources management improved; and (c) HRM generally better.  The areas that needed improvement were:  (a) Gains in service coverage & NRW minimal; (b) Overall financial management seemed worse; (c) Revenues from tariff still not able to cover O&M costs, much less financing costs & capex PSP (private). The data also showed that the private concessions in Jakarta and Manila had been poor performers.
Public-Public Partnerships (PUPs) was developed in context of Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs). PUPs have no private sector partner and have no profit or commercial motive. The partnership is based on equality between public water operators, communities, trade unions, academe and other stakeholders. PUPs aim to improve services, build capacity in public agencies & skills of workforce, build stronger community support and accountability for services, and as a defense against privatization. Some examples of PUPs are several “twinnings” between public water operators under ADB’s Water Operator Partnerships (WOPs).  The twinnings link an ‘expert’ twin to a ‘recipient’ twin; in so doing, the strong twin helps enhance the recipient water district’s skills and operational efficiency. The twinning is done without any commercial motive.

aspac benchmarking & pups_corral-oct08.pdf465.26 KB