Country water actions are stories that showcase water reforms undertaken by individuals,communities, organizations, and governments in Asia-Pacific countries and elsewhere.
Country Water ActionsPhilippines: Manila Water Successfully Reduces Water Losses UsingMultipronged Strategy
Strategic zoning, gaining the public's trust, andtechnological innovations are just some of the componentsof Manila Water's multipronged strategy for reducingnonrevenue water (NRW). Will this strategy elevate thecompany to the ranks of the best water utilities in Asia?
A WATER UTILITY'S REALIZATION
When Manila Water took over the operations of the state-owned Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System(MWSS) in the Metro Manila's East Zone in 1997, the waternetwork system was poorly managed and very inefficient.The network had deteriorated lines, illegal connections werewidespread, and nonrevenue water (NRW) was at a high63%.Manila Water realized early on that the effectivemanagement of NRW is crucial to the goal of serving morepeople. Less water losses meant more water to be suppliedto more people. The product of this realization is ManilaWater's multipronged NRW reduction strategy.
Manila Water executed major capital programs amountingto P19 billion to replace and rehabilitate over 1,440 km of pipelines
DIVIDE, CONQUER, AND EMPOWER
Manila Water made crucial adjustments within itsorganization to address NRW and other problems. Itintroduced the "Territory Management" concept, whichdivided the East Zone into 148 Demand Monitoring Zones(DMZs) based on hydraulic boundaries. This approach led tothe appointment of Territory Business Managers (TBMs),whose task is to monitor the demand, supply, andvariations between the inflow and outflow of water in eachDMZ. To facilitate easier management, DMZs were furthersubdivided into District Metering Areas (DMAs), eachhandled by a District Officer (DO). To date, Manila Waterhas formed and commissioned 931 DMAs all over the EastZone. Empowered to make important decisions, TBMs and DOshave taken accountability and ownership of their respectiveDMZs and DMAs. A significant number of them underwentintensive skills-building trainings and workshops. From beingfield assistants, customer service support agents, and meterreaders, they have now become experts in water supplymanagement and NRW reduction.
CUSTOMER SATISFACTION GUARANTEED
Constant communication with customers helped TBMs andDOs to establish close working relations with communitiesand gain public trust. Community leaders andrepresentatives counted on TBMs and DOs whenever theyhad water problems or other concerns. Eventually,customers themselves were policing their own neighborhood,reporting illegal connections or tampered water meters toManila Water.The company's flagship program for the urban poor, 'TubigPara Sa Barangay' (TPSB) or Water for the Community, hasalso proven to be an effective way of diminishing the highrates of illegal connections in depressed communities andinformal settlements. As of June this year, Manila Water hascompleted over 500 TPSB projects all over the East Zone,serving a total of 900,000 poor people, and further reducingNRW.
Photo shows the number of "Water for the Community"projects completed all over the East Zone of Metro Manila since1997