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Participation and practicalities

Western Europe

In 2021 the European Benchmarking Co-operation organises the 15th edition of its programme of annual benchmarking exercises for drinking water- & wastewater utilities in Western Europe (IB2020).

The exercises aim to assess the actual performance of your utility, determine strong points in which your utility is leading and also identify performance gaps where you can learn from others to improve.

IB2020 primarily targets at European water utilities, although utilities from outside Europe who wish to improve their services are also welcome to join and benefit from the peer utility network.

Registration for the new cycle is now open! You can register by completing this form (Google form). 

To introduce interested utilities to the programme, we will organise an online Orientation session end of March.

During this session we will:

  • introduce the programme and its benefits
  • show the online environment
  • answer your questions.  


If you would like to join this online Orientation session, please send an e-mail to    

Process and planning

The exercise runs from 1 May 2021 to 31 December 2021* and is structured along seven consecutive steps.



Registration is open till 1 May 2021. Utilities who would like to join after this date are still very welcome, however a delayed registration may result in not being included in the (draft) reporting.

You can register by completing the online Registration form. After submitting the form you will receive a confirmation by mail. Please sign this document and return it to

In case of delayed registration, please contact the EBC-project team via:


In response to the current coronavirus pandemic we have taken a few measures to carry out the work as responsibly as possible:

we again use a more flexible planning this year, because we realize that daily activities at water utilities are currently not carried out as usual. The cycle starts on May 1, but it is no problem to register now and step in later when circumstances require;

the annual start-up event for new participants, the Orientation- and Training workshop, is cancelled. Instead, we will organise several events to introduce interested utilities to the programme and online platform, give extra support to new participants through our helpdesk and provide training materials online;

the annual benchmarking workshop is tentatively planned for November in Krakow, Poland. We will inform you in time if this workshop can continue or needs to be postponed or replaced by a digital event.


Participation levels

For drinking water- as well as for wastewater activities, utilities can choose between three different participation levels: a basic, a standard and an advanced level. The most advanced level requires about 240 data elements for drinking water and 190 elements for wastewater, which takes on average about 2-3 weeks of labour to collect depending on experience and data availability.

The basic level takes considerably less effort. However, benchmarking is not so much about the data collection effort, but about the benefits you may expect in return. The more advanced the benchmarking level, the more the pay-off in terms of a more detailed performance analysis and a better insight in the respective business processes.

Project language

The programme is conducted in the English language. Therefore, involved utility staff should master English sufficiently.


To balance the need for a safe learning environment and the call for transparency, EBC applies the following confidentiality protocol:

I. as a general rule, EBC-partners and -participants handle individual utility data/-results that are submitted/exchanged in the framework of the project confidentially;

II. utilities can choose to participate transparently or anonymously:

  • transparent option: the results for the utility may be shared with other participants. This means that within the company report the results of all affirmative participants will be shown with their utility name. All other participating utilities will be shown anonymously;
  • anonymous option: the results for the utility must be presented in an anonymous way. This means that within the company report the results of all participating utilities will be shown anonymously;

III. in the (closed) benchmarking workshop, results of the performance comparisons are shown in a transparent way, to be able to discuss outliers, performance gaps & best practices more effectively;

IV. public reporting:

  • EBC is entitled to report externally about the results of the exercise;
  • names of participants and their general characteristics are considered to be public information;
  • all other individual utility data/results are confidential and will only be shown in an anonymous way;

V. comparisons with other data sources will be anonymous, unless agreed otherwise;

VI. for the remaining, EBC, its partners and participants endorse the EFQM Code of Conduct and act accordingly.


At registration, Participants are explicitly asked if they give permission to EBC to share collected IBNet-indicators with the World Bank. Permission of Participants to share IBNet-indicators, will only hold for these specific indicators.

Background information: IBNet is the global largest database of water- and sanitation services from the World Bank. At present, the IBNet-database mainly contains data from utilities in developing countries and emerging countries; the number of data from utilities in developed countries is still limited. For balanced policy making by the different stakeholders, the World Bank aims to include more data from utilities in developed countries. From this perspective the World Bank has requested EBC to share IBNet-indicators, as these are also collected in the EBC-programme. According to the confidentiality protocol, EBC does not exchange data with third parties without permission of Participants. Therefore, Participants are explicitly asked for this permission).

Participation Fee

EBC offers three different options to subscribe for its Western European benchmarking programme.

1. Subscription for one year (IB2020 only) – 9.975 Euro

2. Subscription until further notice, with the right to end participation annually – 9.450 Euro/year

3. Subscription for multiple years:

  • for 3 years – 9.200 Euro/year
  • for 5 years – 8.925 Euro/year

Utilities with less than 100.000 inhabitants can participate at the basic level for a reduced fee of 1.575 Euro/year.

This (not-for-profit) participation fee covers the common project costs, like: costs of the EBC-project team and external assistance; organisation of the Orientation & Training workshop and the benchmarking workshop; IT-costs (website, database, tools, certificates, licenses, etc.) and communication costs. Next to common project costs, the exercise brings own costs for the participant, like: labour costs for data collection & validation; travel and accommodation costs for attending the Orientation & Training workshop and the benchmarking workshop. Participants need to cover these costs themselves.

Terms and conditions

EBC's Terms and Conditions apply to the benchmarking exercise.

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