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Water Investing Water Infrastructure Capital Operations Maintenance

Water Investing Water Infrastructure Capital Operations Maintenance

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Improving billing and collections goes beyond

delivering invoices. Transferring management of

billing and collections to a service provider that

has fnancial autonomy will give the provider a di-

rect fnancial link to the users, who can leverage

that relationship to demand better services. In

an irrigation scheme in Awati, China, for exam-

ple, tying staff salaries to the fee collection rate

resulted in a 98 percent collection rate. In con-

trast, government managed irrigation schemes

in Nepal, where water fees were provided to the

national treasury rather than the entity charged

with system maintenance, achieved a collection

rate less than 30 percent (Easter and liu 2005).

Moreover, when local or regional government is

the payee some users, such as public entities or

other politically connected enterprises, could get

preferential treatment for their water bill.

Autonomous organizations that have strong

user participation and are transparent in the way

they set water charges are more likely to achieve

high collection rates. The case of the Kyrgyz

Republic demonstrates how when water user as-

sociations collectively pay for shared infrastruc-

ture investments in irrigation, service delivery

and subsequent farm output improve, creating

a virtuous cycle of paying for and receiving good

quality water services (see Box 3).

Another key to collections is the ability of the

service provider to disconnect non-paying cus-

tomers as an incentive to pay. Tolerance of ar-

rears in customer payments or low collection

rates act as an implicit tax on utilities. likewise,

tolerance of pilferage is an implicit subsidy to

consumers. These policies reduce the revenue

Box 2: Reducing Non-Revenue Water in Brazil

Inaccurate metering, unauthorized consumption, and leakages all result in non-revenue water. NRW reductions should

be considered within the broader context of utility reform in order to ensure that appropriate funds and resources are

allocated. The full scope of the problem should be identifed at the onset by characterizing the sources of NRW through

a baseline assessment.

The private sector has much to offer in devising and implementing solutions for different NRW challenges. Private

players can develop new technology and provide investments and incentives for project performance. Options range

from delegated management under public private partnership (PPP) contracts, to technical assistance contracts and

outsourcing of key utility functions to improve performance.

Under a performance-based services contract, a private frm’s remuneration is based on enforced operational

performance measures. This strategy was adopted by the Companhia de Saneamento Básico do São Paulo (SABEP),

the water utility that serves the São Paulo Metropolitan Region in Brazil. The private contractor assisted the utility in

improving the production and delivery of water through activities such as better micro metering. This increased reve-

nues and reduced the debt load. The outcome of the 3-year contract led to an increase in total volume of metered con-

sumption by 45 million m3

and a revenue increase of $72 million.

Source: Kingdom et al. (2006)

InvestIng In Water Infrastructure: capItal, OperatIOns and MaIntenance


Section 3

needed to carry out maintenance or invest in new

infrastructure. Forty years of experience in Cote

d’Ivoire has shown that a policy of disconnecting

when in arrears, and quickly re-connecting after

bills were settled led to a 98 percent collection

rate from residential users (McPhail et al. 2012).

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