EBC’s utility network today covers some 225 water- and wastewater utilities from 42 countries, distributed over six different regional programmes. Many of the participants have already been involved in the programme for several years and repeatedly benchmark their services.
Western European programme
EBC started its activities in Western Europe. Since 2007, more than 140 water- and wastewater utilities from 34 countries from Western Europe and beyond have participated in one or more of its annual exercises.
The Western European programme is a voluntary, self-financed programme - utilities sign up and pay a (cost covering) participation fee.
Annually, the exercises attract 40 to 50 participants, who represent some 15% of the EU-population.
Regional programmes Danube catchment area
Since 2014, EBC facilitates five regional benchmarking programmes in the Danube region, in a joint effort with IAWD and national water utility associations. These programmes are part of the Danube Water Program, a capacity building- and improvement programme for water services in the Danube catchment area, led by IAWD & the World Bank and funded by the governments from Austria, Germany and Switzerland.
The five regional programmes are structured according to EBC’s benchmarking hub-concept. In this concept, national water utility associations are the “owner” of the programme and responsible for the local organisation of the activities. EBC supports the associations with the programme organisation, the training of co-ordinating staff, the methodology, an online benchmarking platform and with the workshops for sharing good practices. Starting point of the hub-concept is that all participants in all regional programmes/hubs use the same assessment methodology (apart from optional extra local questions). Because of this, results can be compared between the different programmes.
The “hub-concept” also enables cross-programme exchanges, as part of the capacity building- and improvement activities.
So far, 85 utilities from 8 different countries ranging from Bulgaria to Ukraine and from Slovenia to Romania have been involved in EBC-facilitated utility benchmarking efforts, and this number continues to grow.