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How are water utilities in the Mediterranean region controlling and reducing their water losses and what has been the recent trends?
Can a water utility separate real losses (leakages) from commercial losses (water utilized by customers but not billed) and for what purposes? Is the non-revenue water indicator (NRW), which measures physical losses but also commercial losses, a relevant tool for a water utility manager? These were some of the questions, which were discussed and debated at a regional workshop on reducing water losses held at the CMI in late January. The World Bank and its CMI partners (AFD, EIB, Plan Bleu) organized the two-day event as part of its Water Losses Reduction Program which aims to promote efficient management of water utilities in the Mediterranean by reducing water losses, through exchanges of experiences and partnerships between utilities and stakeholders.
In a region with an already highly developed hydraulic and water supply infrastructure, extreme water scarcity, growing urban populations and worsening impact of climate change, leading water utilities managers and a range of institutional and private actors have a lot to discuss on ways to best reduce water losses. Indeed, figures show that the amount of water losses in MENA can sometimes reach up to half of the water produced with serious impacts on the long-term financial sustainability of the water utilities. Water losses in urban utilities in countries in North Africa and the Middle East and the Balkans are well above average, and in many cases water losses are such that the utilities cannot provide 24 h/7 day a week service to the population Recent World Bank calculations show significant differences among countries in terms of the NRW percentage ranging from 26% for Tunisia, 54% for Algeria and 30% for Morocco in the Maghreb alone, to 64% in Albania and 50% in Lebanon. Not only are high water losses detrimental for a water utility’s balance sheet but it also means water rationing and intermittent service for many ordinary citizens in the Mediterranean region.
More than 55 participants from 16 countries originating from the North, South and Eastern parts of the Mediterranean Sea, including several CEOs and directors of water utilities, participated in the workshop to reconsider the way this precious resource is delivered to consumers and ultimately accounted for. The workshop offered an opportunity to exchange about what has worked, and what has not in terms of utility performance and management and in particular, to hear about the preliminary results of five target countries of the region (Morocco, Tunisia, Malta, Albania and Cyprus) as well as other case studies from Egypt, Jordan, Libya, Italy, Portugal, and Marseille water utility (Société des Eaux de Marseille).
Looking ahead, participants including donors, water utilities and private sector representatives agreed to adopt a common framework to enable benchmarking, facilitate exchange between utilities through twinning arrangements and to prepare NRW action plans for a group of utilities that could be submitted to donors for financing.
Overview of NRW in the Mediterranean (Philippe Marin, Senior Water & Sanitation Specialist, World Bank)
NRW: a complex topic (Jan Janssens, Managing Director JJC Advisory Services)
NRW: The Moroccan context (Xavier Chauvot De Beauchene, Senior Water & Sanitation Specialist, World Bank)- FR
NRW Performance of Moroccan utilities (Jan Janssens, Managing Director JJC Advisory Services)
RADEEF Fes ( Najib Lahlou, General Director, RADEEF, Morocco)
ONEE (Abdellah Harriz, Chef de Division Amélioration des Performances, Office National de l'Electricité et l'Eau Potable) - FR
LYDEC (Serge Lescouet, Directeur, Exploitation Eau et Assainissement) -FR
SONEDE Tunisia (Larbi Khrouf, Consultant, World Bank)- FR
NWSC Malta (Marc Muscat, CEO, Water Services Corporation, Malta)
NRW Cyprus (Charalambos Charalambous, Water Board of Lemesos, Cyprus)
Libya NRW (Bertrand Dardenne, CEO, ASPA Utilities, Lisbon, Portugal)
Egypt Holding Company for Water and Wastewater (HCWW) (Mamdouh Raslan, Deputy Chairman, Holding Company for Water and Wastewater, Egypt)
Miyahuna Water Company (Abdallah Al-Jarrah, Leakage Control Department Manager, Amman Water Company, Jordan)
Diminution des pertes en eau: Etude de cas sur Marseille (Odile Demassieux, Chef du Service Expertise Réseaux, Société des Eaux de Marseille)
NRW Regulation in Portugal (André Trouillet, Business Manager, ASPA Utilities, Lisbon)- FR
NRW in ECA Countries: Armenia (Manuel Mariño, Lead Water and Sanitation Specialist, World Bank)
Aden, Yemen (Siemen Veenstra, Vitens)
NRW and Intermittent Services: Experiences from Southern Italy (Dewi Rogers, Director, DEWI S.r.l.)
NRW and metering (Francisco Arregui, Senior Researcher, Valencia University)
Contracting for NRW and the Performance-based Contracting (PBC) Approach (Philippe Marin, Senior Water & Sanitation Specialist, World Bank)
Arab Countries Water Utilities Association (ACWUA) (Jarrah Al-Zubi, MDG+ Technical Advisor, ACWUA secretariat)