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. As a key stakeholder in the water sector, the Alliance of Government Workers in the Water Sector (AGWWAS) organized an "Orientation Workshop on the Performance Benchmarking of Philippine Water Districts" in October 2007 in Cebu City, Philippines. [For more info, see:]

On 21 October 2008, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed among AGWWAS, Public Services International Research Unit (PSIRU), Metro Cebu Water District (MCWD) and Visayas State University (VSU) to implement a public-public partnership (PUP) entitled “Capability-Building Program on Performance Benchmarking for Philippine Water Districts.” PUPs are partnerships without a commercial or profit motive or involvement of the private sector, and may be established among public water operators, communities, trade unions, academe and other water stakeholders.  PUPs are forged to improve services; build capacity in public agencies & skills of workforce; build stronger community support and accountability for services; and as alternative solutions to privatization. 

The six-month capability-building program is based on the following premises: 

  • Water is a human right, and access to safe, sufficient and affordable water is essential to sustainable development.
  • Water as a finite and vulnerable resource essential to sustain life, development and the environment, should be managed for the common good.
  • The Philippines has committed itself to the United Nations Millennium Development Goal on Water Supply and Sanitation (WSS) to provide access to safe drinking water to 87% of the population, and to improved sanitation to 84% of the population by 2015.
  • The Medium Term Philippine Development Plan (2004-2010) aims to provide access to safe drinking water to 92-96% of the population, and to improved sanitation to 86-91% by 2010.
  • Performance benchmarking is a practical management and decision-making tool to measure and improve the performance of a water utility through a set of technical, financial, and social/ environmental indicators (e.g., service level, service quality, operational efficiency, financial management, integrated water resources management).
  • Decision-making for improved water services is often not supported by available data and information; there is a need to build the capacity of operational-level implementers to collate, integrate and analyze the necessary information for effective planning and decision-making.
  • In performance benchmarking, all knowledge within water districts should be utilized, including of rank-and-file workers; they are close to the production process and know from a workplace level what services works and what services need to be improved or created. Workers should be active contributors to the knowledge base and in promoting quality public services.
  • Key stakeholders, such as public water managers and workers in the water sector, local communities and the academe, need to work more closely together to think of innovative solutions towards expanding coverage and access.
  • PUPs, on a basis of equality, mutual benefit and without a profit motive, foster closer collaboration among the various stakeholders to improve water services.
  • Through the exchange of information, a mutual learning process, and identifying good practices of well-performing utilities, PUPs can be designed and developed with active participation of public managers and workers.

Expected outcomes of the capability-building program are four-fold: (a) Enhanced appreciation and capabilities of public water managers and workers to implement benchmarking; (b) Consensus on key performance benchmarks for water districts; (c) Benchmarking units or focal persons in water districts; and (d) Forging of PUPs within and among water districts and other water stakeholders. Messages of support came from: National Water Resources Board (NWRB), Philippine Association of Water Districts (PAWD), Local Water Utilities Administration (LWUA), Transnational Institute (TNI), Public Services International (PSI) and the Cebu City Government.


Hosted by the MCWD Regional Training Center, the training was held on October 21-24, 2008 and was attended by 20 managers and rank-and-file employees from 11 water districts (WDs) nationwide -  Tanjay WD (Small); Dapitan WD (Medium); Surigao Metro WD (Medium); Maasin WD (Medium); Dipolog City WD (Big); Puerto Princesa City WD (Big); Metro Kalibo WD (Large); Metro Kidapawan WD (Large); Baguio City WD (Large); Bacolod City WD (Very Large); Metro Cebu WD (Very Large). Expectations from the participants included: Learn what benchmarking is all about; Know how benchmarking helps and improve their performance as water districts; Know what benchmarking really is and how they could possibly adapt and implement their learning for the future development of every water district; Gain knowledge on how to improve their services through benchmarking; Use the training to improve services and personnel competencies; Help them live up to the expectations of their clients and that is to provide safe, affordable, sustainable water not only today but for generations to come; Present guidelines in the improvement of water districts’ performance which will be applicable to their respective districts; Learn new applicable techniques; Gain insights from other participants on how to improve their services; Serve as a guide and basis for comparison; Joint effort of labor and management to improve water service will be enhanced through this benchmarking training; Know about human rights in relation to the water resources; Application of this training will prevent privatization; Establish strong public-public partnerships through performance benchmarking.

Philippine Water Supply Roadmap.  MR RAMON ALIKPALA, NWRB Executive Director, provided an overview of the Philippine water supply roadmap and the roles of responsible agencies in meeting the goal of providing safe drinking water to every Filipino. In the absence of a strong regulatory framework, benchmarking is a very good tool in helping water service providers improve their performance. Official data on Philippine households with access to safe water supply and sanitation shows that although 80% of households had access by 2005, coverage had been declining since 2000.  In 1990, only 67% of households had access to sanitation; this increased to 86% in 2005.

The roadmap’s key result areas are in: Policy; Financing; Regulation; Service delivery; Support Services; and Oversight. Strengthening Private-Public-Partnerships and multi-stakeholder participation are among the roadmap programs. Various agencies play complementary roles – LGUs ensure the provision of water supply and sanitation to their constituency; LWUA is responsible in providing financial and technical support to water districts;   NWRB is resource and economic regulator as well as appellate body;  Department of Health (DOH) ensures potability and addresses sanitation concerns; Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) monitors effluence standards.  

By management model, there are about 6,280 water utilities in the Philippines categorized as: LGU (Local Government Unit) – 1,000; Water District – 580; Private – 900; Cooperative – 200; BWSA (Barangay Water Service Association) – 3,100; RWSA (Rural Water Service Association) – 500. Unregulated water utilities comprise half of the total. LWUA regulates water districts; Manila Water Supply and Sewerage- Regulatory Office (MWSS-RO) regulates the two private concessionaires in Manila; NWRB regulates the other private providers and BWSAs/RWSAs/LGUs.

The following performance indicators are used to compare water supply providers:  (a) Production – Production Volume; Storage Capacity; Production Metering; (b)  Service – Water Coverage; Water Availability; Water Use; Per Capita Consumption; Household Monthly Consumption; Household Monthly Bill; Unaccounted for Water; Staff per 1000 Connections; Average Tariff; Unit Production Cost; Management Salaries; (c) Operation and Maintenance – Annual Operating Maintenance Costs; O& M Cost Components; Leaks Repaired; Meters Replaced; Complaints Received; New Connections. Data on water coverage, operating ratio and staff per 1,000 connections was provided to illustrate performance comparisons of utilities by management models.

Benchmarking Initiatives in Asia-Pacific & PUPs.  MS VIOLETA CORRAL of Public Services International Research Unit (PSIRU) provided an annotated list of resources on benchmarking and Public-Public Partnerships (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.

PAWD’s Experience in Benchmarking. ENGR PABLITO PALUCA, Chair of PAWD’s Technical Committee, gave an overview of PAWD’s benchmarking experience. Benchmarking is an important tool to improve the services of Philippine water districts (WDs) which are classified into 6 categories - Small, Average, Medium, Big, Large, and Very Large. WDs have been benchmarking using the criteria prescribed by the Local Water Utilities Administration (LWUA), the agency that regulates and provides financing to WDs.  LWUA’s criteria, however, are mainly focused on ensuring and monitoring loan repayment, i.e., collection efficiency, collection ratio and non-revenue water.  Through the years, the Philippine Association of Water Districts (PAWD) realized that benchmarking of WDs should not be limited to these narrow parameters.

PAWD’s first benchmarking on a national scale was undertaken in 2005. Its technical committee designed a 4-page, back-to-back questionnaire.  The task had not been easy; the aim had been to get as much information that might be of use in future.  Another reason for the lengthy questionnaire was so that WDs can save on mailing costs.  Of the 132 WDs, or 29% of total number of WDs, which participated in the benchmarking activity, 71% came from ‘Very Large’ WDs. ‘Small’ WDs, which make up the majority, only had a 17% participation rate which indicated that they needed help in benchmarking. The constraints encountered in the benchmarking were: (a) Non-submission of survey forms (WDs hesitant to divulge records, Non-availability of records, Misrouted or misplaced forms); (b) Understanding the questionnaire and unclear definitions of criteria used; (c) Reliability of data; (d) Encoding and processing of data.

Using 2005 benchmarking data, PAWD was able to demonstrate the trend of tariff against WD size which shows that economies of scale also apply to WDs. Larger WDs are expected to be more efficient and hence tend to have lower water rates. Smaller WDs tend to have higher rates which decrease as WDs get bigger in size. The average water rate is PhP 140-150, or PhP 15/m3, based on 10m3 minimum. If a very large WD has very high tariffs, then there should be a justification, e.g., a new project.

Eighty-eight (88) WDs participated in the 2006 benchmarking. PAWD used the benchmarking data as basis for its annual PAWD Awards.  Some notes and challenges in the 2005 and 2006 benchmarking experience:  (a)  Lower 3 WD categories (Small, Average, Medium) have low participation which may be due to the difficulty in preparing the financial statements as well as other reports required by LWUA.  (b) Data of upper 3 categories has less errors and more reliable.  (c) Validation of data is still a problem due to lack of time of PAWD Technical Committee, hence our proposal that benchmarking already be made a regular function of PAWD. The trainees from this benchmarking project can also assume the role of benchmarking arm of PAWD. (d) Encouraging other WDs to join the benchmarking.  (e) Coordinate with LWUA to revise the Monthly Data Sheet (MDS) to contain uniform data for benchmarking. (f) Interpretation of benchmarking results to WD personnel. PAWD and LWUA still need to do much training along these lines.

IBNET, the international benchmarking network financed by World Bank, expressed an interest to link PAWD benchmarking database to IBNET. The offer of IBNET was three-fold:  Help PAWD check its benchmarking data; Serve as 3rd party evaluator for the PAWD Awards; Cash incentive of US$20,000 for PAWD.

Water districts may or may not use all the indicators PAWD utilizes and choose only those applicable to their areas; the indicators can serve as guide. The interpretation of benchmarking results to WD workers is also important; the results should prompt appropriate action. Understanding the purpose of benchmarking and identifying the parameters will improve the performance of water utilities. Workers should encourage their WDs to join PAWD’s benchmarking.

Problem-solving exercises. Workshop exercises were designed to hone analytical thinking and utilize key indicators (e.g. Current ratio; Operating ratio; Debt service ratio; Debt-equity ratio; NRW; Population Served; Water source) to compare performance of  water utilities and address such operational challenges as: (a) Which water district may increase water rates and for what purpose?  (b) If water districts have the same number of concessionaires and water rates, which is more likely to have more cash?  (c)  Which water district is efficient in collecting their bills?  (d)  If the water districts were already serving 100% of their population, which of them may reduce their water rates?  (e)  Which water district can afford to increase workers salaries and benefits? (f)  How would you differentiate the spending behavior of the water districts?

NWRB’s Benchmarking System & Key Performance Indicators. MS BELEN JUAREZ of NWRB provided inputs on the agency’s role as the policy, economic, and resource regulator of the country’s water supply. It grants permits to water service providers and ensures that standards set by law are being implemented. Benchmarking is the search for industry’s best practices that leads to superior performance; there are two kinds:  metric and process benchmarking. Metric benchmarking is a quantitative comparative assessment that enables utilities to track internal performance over time, and to compare this performance against that of similar utilities. Process benchmarking is changing the way things are done and comparing to best practices. Eight-step process in metric benchmarking:  1.  Select process or function for benchmarking; 2.  Define how to measure performance; 3.  Define explanatory factors; 4.  Define data requirement; 5.  Select comparator organizations; 6.  Collect data; 7.  Analyze data and present findings; 8.  Initiate performance improvement.  Process benchmarking has five key stages:  Planning; Analysis; Integration; Action; Maturity.

The different end users of the benchmarking system are:  (a) Water Utility Managers and Employees – to identify areas for improvement and adopt realistic targets; compare their current performance with their previous years’ performance, or with the performance of their peers in the industry;  (b) Government Agencies – to monitor and adjust sector policies an programs;  (c) NWRB as a Regulator - management tool  to evaluate utilities operational processes and compile their performance profile; (d) Customers or consumers – to get better levels of service; (e) Private investors and lenders – identify viable markets and opportunities for creating values.

NWRB’s benchmarking system promotes improvement in water supply service by tracking the utility’s performance over time and making inter-utility comparisons. Various government agencies take part in the tracking of performance by different water service providers:  Local Water Utilities Administration (LWUA) - for water districts; Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) - for local government-run water utilities; NWRB - for all other types of water utilities, such as Rural Water Supply and Sanitation, cooperatives, and privately-run water service providers. NWRB uses benchmarking as a regulatory tool to evaluate utilities’ operational processes and compile their performance profile. As a result, consumers get better levels of service.

Key Performance Indicators (KPIs): MCWD Model.  ENGR LAZARO SALVACION, Manager of MCWD’s Water Resources Knowledge Center, began by saying that MCWD’s approach is not to copy but focus on its specific needs and deficiencies. Once identified, these are prioritized according to importance:  priorities are those with a value of 20% but with yield of 80%. MCWD utilizes and monitors 46 KPIs monthly:  Customer-Focused (5 KPIs); Product & Service (6 KPIs); and Financial & Market (35 KPIs).  For instance, water supply in Metro Cebu is very low, hence it is important to always be on alert for leakages which translates to waste of the water resource. Benchmarking enables MCWD to monitor how it is performing in this regards, and helps compare its performance with other best performing WDs using parallel indicators. MCWD has collected and monitored benchmarking data for the past 20 years, making the WD unique – it has qualified for ISO certifications where all the processes in the water utility have been documented. As a company, MCWD tries to operate like a private company even if it is a publicly-run and -controlled.  If WDs are well-performing, there should be no reason to privatize:  “Why should we give profit to the private sector which we can earn ourselves and use to expand our services?” It is false to say that water districts do not generate profits; water districts operate without any allocation or subsidies from the government. MCWD tries to earn as much revenues as long as the rates are affordable to the consumers. Workers should look into their own WD operations and find out how they can improve their performance. MCWD charges Php 40/cum in excess of the 30 cum minimum as a means to encourage people not to waste water.

Key Indicators on Integrated Water Resources Management.  DR BUENAVENTURA DARGANTES of Visayas State University suggested key indicators on environmental sustainability by first reviewing: Basic concepts in Water Resources Management; Role of water in human life support; and Issues and concerns in Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM).  Key Indicators for IWRM that may be of interest to Water Districts are: (a) Total Actual Renewable Water Resources; (b) Per Capita Actual Renewable Water Resources; (c)  Internal Renewable Water Resources;  (d)  Dependency Ratio; and (e)  Access to Improved Water Sources;  (f)  Water Poverty Index. These indicators are not only related to the physical environment but also social acceptability of IWRM interventions.

Key Indicators on Core Labor Standards (CLS) & Related Laws.   MR VICTOR CHIONG of Alliance of Government Workers in the Water Sector (AGWWAS) provided an overview of core labor standards (CLS) which is a set of four internationally-recognized basic rights and principles at work: (a) Freedom of association and the effective recognition of the right to collective bargaining; (b) Elimination of all forms of forced or compulsory labor; (c) Effective abolition of child labor; and (d) Elimination of discrimination in respect of employment and occupation.  Other labor standards cover such subjects as: occupational health and safety (OHS); employment promotion; minimum wages and payment of wages; social security; labor administration; and specific economic sectors or occupations (seafarers, dockworkers, nursing personnel, home workers, plantation workers, etc).  Compliance with the core labor standards and related labor laws will redound to satisfied employees and greater productivity, which contributes to the utility’s overall performance. Labor standards should be integrated in benchmarking systems. Suggested key indicators are:  (a)  Work Hours;  (b) Employees Compensation;  (c)  Work leaves; (d) Social Insurance;  (e)  Occupational Health and Safety;  (f) Compliance with CLS on forced labor; (g) Compliance with CLS on child labor;  (h)  Compliance with CLS on discrimination & equal remuneration;  (i) Compliance with CLS on Freedom of association and right to collective bargaining; and (j) Contractors’ compliance with CLS and other labor laws.

Developing PUPs for Water Districts.  ENGR ARMANDO PAREDES, General Manager of Metro Cebu WD (MCWD), gave examples of PUPs being developed by MCWD with three local government units (LGUs) in Cebu:  (a)  Danao City;  (b) Compostela municipality;  and (c) Liloan.  Of the three, the MCWD-Danao City PUP is in the most advanced stage of negotiations. LGU officials who operate Danao city’s water system requested for technical assistance from MCWD on how to account for water since many households do not have meters. Danao City indicated it would like to sell water to MCWD from the Danao river. MCWD had asked the LGU to verify the sustainability of the volume of water from the river. [A Memorandum of Understanding had been signed by the two parties in March 2009.]


Benchmarking is often hampered by a lack of available data and information.  There is a need to build capacities to collate, integrate and analyze information for effective planning & decision making.  Water districts need to come up with a set of technical, financial, social and environmental indicators as bases for performance improvement. The training on “Introduction to Database Management for Performance Benchmarking of Water Districts” was held on January 19-23, 2009 at the Institute for Strategic Research and Development Studies (ISRDS) at Visayas State University in Baybay, Leyte.

Objectives of the training: Evolve a set of performance benchmarks using technical, financial, social & environmental indicators; Strengthen the capability of performance benchmarking units or focal persons of water districts on database establishment; Enhance the capabilities of managers and workers in water districts to establish a database on performance benchmarking; Strengthen PUPs within & among water districts and other stakeholders through data sharing.  The expected outcomes were:  Consensus on key performance indicators; Performance benchmarking units or focal persons in WDs; Public-public partnerships (PUPs) within & among WDs and other water stakeholders. Participants were requested to bring with them a set of sample indicators from their respective WDs to use for hands-on exercises.

Participants were 28 managers and rank-and-file employees from 10 WDs nationwide –Baybay WD (Medium); Dapitan WD (Medium); Maasin WD (Medium); Dipolog City WD (Big); Puerto Princesa City WD (Big); Metro Kalibo WD (Large); Metro Kidapawan WD (Large); Baguio City WD (Large); Bacolod City WD (Very Large); Metro Cebu WD (Very Large).

Basic Principles in Dealing with Data.  DR LILIBETH MIRALLES of Visayas State University reviewed the concept of data and their importance, levels of measurement and measurement methodologies, data transformation, scoring techniques, index construction, and gain insights in data coding and representation. Data are information, facts, evidences, (texts, photographs, videos, sound recordings) stored in any media (computers, storage devices, prints outs, audio tapes, video tapes etc). Raw data is transformed into values that are usable in analysis. Complete, accurate, timely and relevant data is important to make informed decisions. To help reduce error in gathering data, there should be:  Pilot testing of measurement instrument; Training the data gatherers; Double checking the data; and Triangulating across multiple measures. Examples used to illustrate concepts were related to water district operations.  For instance, ‘data representation’ is exemplified  by existing sanitation facilities and practices of watershed occupants as it relates to the cost of water treatment;  the ‘unit of analysis used could be the ‘household-occupant’ and data needed would be: whether a household has a toilet, type of toilet (Direct/flush,  Open/overhang, VIP latrine),  type of septic tank (Unlined/earth,  With side lining only/bottomless,  Sealed/lined septic tank), sewage disposal, sanitation practices, etc.  A “uni-dimensional construct” is illustrated by attitudes towards the practice of solid waste segregation or self-esteem of an employee.

Basic Principles in Data Collection and Instrumentation.   DR BUENAVENTURA DARGANTES of Visayas State University reviewed the basic principles in data collection and instrumentation; Types of data sources; Types of instruments; and Data collection techniques including data verification and validation. Primary data is obtained through direct observation and direct measurement while secondary data can be obtained from reports and records. The types of instruments are: sensory data collection, physical representational, formal representation and sensory representation; records, reports and forms are examples of documentary and formal representation while sensory representation could be in a form of visual/graphic, oral/auditory and virtual.  Key considerations in data collection, verification and validation are:  (a) Objectives of data collection/utilization of the data; (b) Nature of variable and of the data; (c) Resource availability; (d) Manpower capability; (e) Socio-political conditions; (e) Instrument reliability and (f) Data validity.

NWRB’s 5-Year Tariff Methodology.  MS BELEN JUAREZ of National Water Resources Board introduced NWRB’s 5-year tariff methodology, adopted in 2005, and which aims to help water service providers (WSPs) plan their business and attain full cost recovery. The tariff methodology has the following main features:  (a)  Tariff is computed based on agreed levels of service;  (b) Requires the submission of a 5-year Business Plan with detailed proposed OPEX and CAPEX;  (c) Use of Excel-based tariff model, computation of average ROI to reduce price shocks and; (d) Mechanism for disallowances and upward adjustment in succeeding tariff proposal. In setting tariff goals, levels of tariff should be established in consultation with customers in terms of hours of service, water quality, non-revenue water and service coverage and pressure.  Part of 5-year tariff methodology is water supply planning and projection of demand and supply levels (volume and sold and population to be served, determine required investments and determine operating expenses to be incurred).  For NWRB, the key operational and financial and performance indicators are:  Collection Performance (Collection Efficiency; Collection Period); Production Efficiency (Non-Revenue Water; % Metered); Personnel Management (Staff/1,000 Connection);  Cost Control (Operating Ratio);  Liquidity (Current Ratio);  Profitability (Net Income Ratio);  Sustainability (Debt to Equity Ratio; Debt Service Ratio).

Benchmarking of Water Utilities using NWRB Template (WUQ).  MS BELEN JUAREZ described  NWRB’s benchmarking system and the use of NWRB’s Water Utilities Questionnaire (WUQ) template.  Benchmarking is collecting and comparing performance indicators of similar water service providers. It involves technical, financial & management data collected & published annually.  Technical data includes service area coverage, supply availability, UFW (unaccounted-for-water), CAPEX/connection and production/consumption rates.  Financial and management indicators include staffing ratio, operating ratio, collection period & efficiency, average tariff and connection fees. Benchmarking can be used by a water utility to identify areas for improvement, adopt realistic targets and to convince authorities of the need for change. NWRB’s benchmarking system can be accessed by government agencies, regulators, civil society & NGOs, customers or consumers, private investors and lenders and water utility managers & staff.  NWRB maintains the database; its ‘nodes’ are LWUA for water districts and DILG (Department of Interior and Local Government) for LGU-run water utilities.  To fill up the WUQ, the following documents are needed: audited financial statements, production reports, distribution reports, commercial reports, tariff structure and personnel reports.  Validation usually takes place during data entry into the WUQ, physical inspection of data and uploading. 

HANDS-ON EXERCISE 1:  Encoding Data into NWRB’s Template (WUQ)The WUQ database template and sample template (Maragusan water coop) wwere installed into the computers. Each group from the same water district was given time to fill up the WUQ with sample data from their water districts. Trainor-mentors went around for questions raised by the groups. Participants were asked to note the difficulties they encountered in entering their data.  At the end of the 2-hour exercise, these observations were noted:  (a) Some participants expressed confusion in the definitions used, e.g., unaccounted-for water (UFW) and NRW.  (b) Participants clarified the definition of terms such as “water consumption”, “billed water”, “water storage capacity”, “customer service area”.  (c) Metro Cebu Water District uses SRR (System Recovery Rate), which is similar to NRW, and measures the water billed rather than the water lost. (d) Participants expressed appreciation in the additional knowledge and skills in data entry, found the NWRB template user-friendly, and the exercise helpful in their work.  (f)  Others expressed the need to be trained in the use of computers, as some have just used the computer for the first time during the workshop. 

HANDS-ON EXERCISE 2:  Generating Reports from WD Data.  Participants were grouped according to their water districts (WDs) and asked to generate reports using datasets from their WDs, and provide an analysis of the performance of their WDs based on the reports.

Baybay WD plotted their data for ‘Total Connections’ in 2004-2007 which showed an increase in the total number of connections, and hence an improvement in the water district’s performance in terms of service coverage.

Baguio City WD utilized the WD’s data on annual production, storage capacity and number of leaks (2004-2007) which showed that annual production increased every year, storage capacity remained the same, and the leaks continuously decreased.  The participants concluded that their WD’s service is good because the NRW is low.

Metro Cebu WD presented their report on Production and Water Billing which showed continuous improvement in performance.

Dapitan WD presented their report on Billing and Collection data which is a measure of the WD’s income; it showed that billing was lower than collection in 2004-2005; this was because the collectibles had only been collected in later years, while in the following year (2005-2006), the flow of operations was already normal.

Dipolog City WD presented their report on Billing and Production and NRW, which showed NRW was increasing and that the production manager should address this problem.

Puerto Princesa WD presented their reports on Number of employees, Salary, Change meter, NRW and Leaks.  The number of employees decreased from the previous year; the salary also decreased from the highest position to the lowest.  They also noted that NRW and number of leaks decreased, which was good news for the WD.  Change meter also decreased.

Questionnaire Survey – Key Indicators for Performance Benchmarking.   MS VIOLETA CORRAL of Public Services International Research Unit (PSIRU) presented a questionnaire survey being developed by PSIRU, partly based on NWRB’s Water Utilities Questionnaire and IBNET.  The water utility profile should also include ownership structure, management model and unions/employees association aside from the name of water utility, basic information and contact address.  PART I-III provide key indicators for the performance and quality of water services provided by selected water utilities (public or private).  These benchmark indicators also provide the basis for cross-utility and cross-country comparisons, as well as for developing PUPs with participation from workers’ unions/associations.  PART IV identifies the types of privatization or PSP already existing in the water service (if any) and the effects on workers’ rights and welfare (if any).  PART V provides information on management strategies of the water utility, including human resources management.  PART VI focuses on how the utility is being managed in terms of transparency, accountability and participation (TAP).  PART VII determines compliance of the water utility/service provider to core labor standards and related labor laws, rules and regulations. Suggested indicators on T-A-P (good governance) includes:  (a) Transparency - Information available to public; Timely reporting; Public information/ communication strategies;  (b)  Accountability – Board/management structure; Defined managerial autonomy and accountability; Who appoints management; What decisions and how are management held accountable; Defined criteria for incentives system to management/employees; Grievance/complaints mechanism. (c)  Participation – Civil society representation at Board; Mechanisms for public consultation; Public hearings conducted by regulatory authority.  

Sanitation Challenge:  Key Indicators on Sanitation & Sewerage.  DR. LILIBETH MIRALLES of Visayas State University presented the national scenario and case of the Binahaan watershed occupants in Leyte, ECOSAN and key indicators for benchmarking. In 2002, 80% of the country’s urban population and 61% of rural population had access to sanitary toilets.  25% of the total population depend on defective and poorly maintained septic tanks, while 90% of sewage is not disposed or treated in an environmentally sound manner. Binahaan watershed occupants have unhygienic sanitation practices, poor sanitation facilities (e.g., defective septic tanks), and improper disposal of human waste and wastewater from households which can contaminate the surface and underground waters of the watershed. ECOSAN is a concept that closes the loop between sanitation and agriculture; the purpose is recycling, crops grows into the soil, then humans eat the crops and these become food which is used by the body, and then becomes body waste, thereafter the waste is used as organic fertilizer put into the soil. Suggested indicators:  Whether the utility provides sewerage service; Service area; Staff; Sewerage service; Financial information; Tariff Information.  If the utility does not provide sewerage services: Watershed sanitation protection; Water quality management of water source; Access to sanitation and sewage/wastewater facilities in the area of responsibility; Booster pumps and supplementary water source.

Watershed Information System (WIMS).  DR WINSTON TABADA of Visayas State University (VSU) provided inputs on watershed management and a database system they had developed at VSU.  The goal of watershed management is to plan and work toward an environmentally and economically healthy watershed those benefits all who have a stake in it. All efforts on watershed management are based on the best available assessment of the natural, economic and social features of the watershed. Maps and information on boundaries, terrain, water bodies and water use designation, soil types, roads, land uses, development trends, education trends and many others are required in the planning process.  WIMS is a computerized system designed to support the compiling, storing, retrieving, analyzing and display of data for addressing planning, management and decision-making. The system uses MSAccess and ArcView 3.2 – MSAccess serves as the backend (database) and front end for data compiling, storing, retrieving and analysis while ArcView 3.2 is used to generate thematic maps from the stored data in MSAccess. Data acquired from a participatory resource assessment are captured and stored in the system. The system can generate on demand the following statistical analysis:  (a) Demographic characteristics such as educational status, household sizes, means of livelihood and household gross incomes and other characteristics are analyzed by barangay; (b) Farm characteristics such as farm parcels areas, tenurial status, crops yield and income, animals raised and income and other farm-related characteristics are analyzed by barangay; (c) Social services and affiliation analyzed by barangay; (d) Indices of living analyzed by barangay; and (e) Water sources and their uses analyzed by barangay. Plain operation of the system such as data entry and generation of preformatted reports will only require operators with minimal knowledge in computing. However, the system may require an operator with good knowledge in databasing and GIS manipulation to generate information beyond what the system/program can generate, which means that the operator must be able to create ‘queries’ and more manipulative skills in GIS to generate thematic maps of the formulated queries.

Moving Forward

  • PAWD Benchmarking Data Utility Book

Start or strengthen benchmarking efforts in own water districts and contribute to collection and analysis of data and performance indicators, also as third party evaluator.

  • Data Standardization / Benchmarking Questionnaire

Develop a uniform and user-friendly questionnaire that integrates key indicators and new dimensions on environmental sustainability, good governance and core labor standards. 

  • Organize a Technical Working Group

Among tasks is to reach identify key indicators to, e.g. propose to PAWD for possible adoption in the 2009 awards, or to re-design of LWUA’s Monthly Data Sheet (MDS).

  • Create a website called “BenchPup”
  • Communicate with WD management

Labor and management should find a common goal in benchmarking which is a tool to improve water services.

  • Educate relevant stakeholders to de-politicize governance of water districts.
  • Benchmarking as (online) training course

Seek LWUA’s and other sources of support in benchmarking trainings, which can also be developed as an online course for water sector workers and professionals.

  • Organize trainors’ training on performance benchmarking

Pilot trainors’ trainings should be organized in Central and Northern Luzon since they are the biggest areas.

  • Future trainings on Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM), Watershed Planning and Sewerage & Septage Management

Trainings can be undertaken jointly by VSU and MCWD Regional Training Center.

  • Continuous support from the academe

Develop a network of public universities which can provide advice and technical assistance to benchmarking training program.

  • ‘Big Brother’- ‘Small Brother’ PUPs

Initiate ‘twinning’ arrangements among participating water districts.  For instance, MCWD, which plays a big brother’ role, is willing to support through trainings, exposure visits, and technical assistance (e.g. engineering techniques, management strategies).

  • Promote PUPs between water districts  and LGUs

Look into potential ‘win-win’ collaboration between water districts and LGUs in their respective areas.  For instance, MCWD has a pilot project that reaches out to mountain barangays no loger covered by the WD.


Memorandum of Understanding - AGWWAS, MCWD, VSU & PSIRU, October 21, 2008

“Capability-Building Program on Performance Benchmarking for Water Districts:  Project Overview” by Dr Buenaventura Dargantes, Visayas State University (VSU), October 2008.

Expressions of support from Local Water Utilities Authority (LWUA), Philippine Association of Water Districts (PAWD), Public Services International (PSI) and Transnational Institute (TNI), October 2008.

“Annotated List of Resources on Benchmarking, PUPs”, By Violeta Corral, Public Services International Research Unit (PSIRU), October 2008.

“Water for Every Filipino: the Philippine Water Supply Roadmap” by Ramon Alikpala, Executive Director, National Water Resources Board (NWRB), October 2008.

“Benchmarking Initiatives in Asia-Pacific & PUPs” by Violeta Corral, Public Services International Research Unit (PSIRU), October 2008.

“Benchmarking System to Improve Performance of Water Utilities” by Belen Juarez, National Water Resources Board (NWRB), October 2008.

“PAWD Experience in Benchmarking” by Pablito Paluca, Chair/Technical Commitee, Philippine Association of Water Districts (PAWD), October 2008.

“MCWD: Key Performance Indicators” by Lazaro Salvacion, Metro Cebu Water District, October 2008.

“Key Indicators for Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM)” by Buenaventura Dargantes, Visayas State University, October 2008.

“Suggested Indicators on Core Labor Standards and Related Labor Laws” by Victor Chiong, Alliance of Government Workers in Water Sector (AGWWAS), October 2008.

“Questionnaire Survey: Indicators For Performance Benchmarking of Water Utilities” by Violeta Corral, Public Services International Research Unit (PSIRU), June 2008.

“Basic Principles in Dealing with Data” by Dr. Lilibeth Miralles, Visayas State University, January 2009.

“Basic Principles in Data Collection and Instrumentation” by Dr. Buenaventura Dargantes, Visayas State University, January 2009.

“NWRB’s 5-Year Tariff Methodology” by Belen Juarez, National Water Resources Board (NWRB), January 2009. 

“Benchmarking of Water Utilities Using NWRB Template” by Belen Juarez, National Water Resources Board (NWRB), January 2009.

“Reclaiming Public Water Network” by Maryann Manahan, Focus on the Global South, January 2009

“Sanitation Challenge & Eco-San Concept” by Dr. Lilibeth Miralles, Visayas State University, January 2009.

“Watershed Information System (WIMS)” by Dr Winston Tabada, Visayas State University, January 2009. 

MOA: Bulk Water Supply Agreement between Metro Cebu Water District (MCWD) and Danao City Government (March 25, 2009)

"Recap of Capabiliy-Building Program on Performance Benchmarking and PUPs" by Violeta Corral, PSIRU, April 2009

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Sanitation-ecosan_miralles-jan09.pdf989.16 KB
Watershed Information System_tabada-jan09.pdf19.64 KB
PUP-mcwd-lgu-BulkWater_MOA-mar09.pdf102.09 KB
recap-benchmarking & pups_corral-apr09.pdf3.38 MB
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