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Philippines Water Action: Davao Deals with Nonrevenue Water

Philippines Water Action: Davao Deals with Nonrevenue Water

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Published by: adbwaterforall on Oct 24, 2012
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Country water actions are stories that showcase water reforms undertaken by individuals,communities, organizations, and governments in Asia-Pacific countries and elsewhere.
Twinning MOA Signing Between Davao CityWater District (General Manager RodoraGamboa) and Ranhill Utilities Berhad(General Manager for Operations ZainuddinGhazali).Ranhill experts mentoring Operations andMaintenance Department (OMD) of DavaoCity Water District on better performance of valves.
Country Water ActionsPhilippines: Davao Deals with Nonrevenue Water
March 2010
Web Writer With some help from Malaysia's SAJ Holdings-RanhillUtilities Berhad, Davao City Water District is movingtowards greater water efficiency by reducing its nonrevenuewater.
For urban waterexperts, the keychallenges toefficient water useare reducingexcessive waterconsumption andreducing nonrevenuewater or NRW. Formany water utilitiesin Asia, reducingnonrevenue waterhas always been atop priority.Davao City WaterDistrict (DavaoWater) is one utilitythat keeps a sharpeye on its NRW. In 2005, the utility created an NRWCommittee whose task is to devise a comprehensive actionplan to curb the utility's water losses—pegged at 31.81percent of total production. While the committee went towork, Davao Water's NRW from 2005 to 2007 stayed abovethe utility's target of 29 percent.Opportunity came in 2008, when a partnership betweenDavao Water and Malaysia-based SAJ Holdings-RanhillUtilities Berhad (SAJH-RUB) was made possible as atwinning arrangement under ADB'sWater OperatorsPartnerships (WOPs) Program.Under this program, thetwinning between Ranhill and Davao Water aimed to helpDavao Water, the recipient twin, reduce its NRW withguidance from Ranhill, the expert twin.A diagnostic visit of Ranhill representative to Davao City inMay 2008 marked the beginning of the partnership, duringwhich, the utilities designed a work plan, ironed outagreement details, signed the memorandum of agreement,and generally got to know each other. Ranhill staff studiedDavao Water's operations and the range of issuesconfronting the utility.The work plan involved a number of study visits by bothcamps, each observing how the other deals with NRWreduction and related issues such as meter maintenance,leak detection, distribution maintenance, among others.With guidance from Ranhill, Davao Water's NRW Committeecame up with NRW reduction strategies based oncommittee's already formulated NRW Action Plan. In 18short months, Davao Water's NRW shrank from 28.4percent in 2008 to 25.5% by the end of 2009. 
Davao City is thelargest city in theisland of Mindanao,with a growingpopulation of around1.4 million people.About 43 percent of Davao's 2,443square kilometerland is covered withvast fruit and coffeeplantations.Supplying water tothe vast Davaolands, includingsignificant peri-urban and ruralareas, falls into the hands of the Davao Water. Created in1973 as a government corporation, it had to cope with thecity's development, increasing its transmission anddistribution lines, sources, pumping stations and reservoirs.With its growing service connections, now over 169,000,Davao Water has become the biggest water district in thePhilippines.Today, Davao Water serves about 59 percent of Davao city'spopulation. While it provides 24/7 service to almost allcustomers in its urban catchment, people outside the urbancenters have to buy water of dubious quality at exorbitantprices from small water providers or rely on dug wells, handpumps, spring water, and surface water. To bridge theservice gap, Davao Water set up water kiosks in strategicareas, supplied with water via trucks. However, while kioskshave been built in some communities, such as those in theperi-urban villages of Cabantian and Lasang, the rest of rural Davao is still waiting for theirs.
Like most urban utilities, Davao Water deals with pipe burstsand leakages, water service interruptions, and generallyimproving service efficiency. The twinning arrangementprovided the utility opportunities to learn how they do thingsin Ranhill.Ranhill acted as Davao Water's big brother, sharing itsexperience and expertise as a private water utility inMalaysia's Johor State. Davao Water's big brother hasalmost 900,000 connections, offers 24 hours service, andsupplies water to 99.97 percent of its service area. 

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