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Improvement programme for water services
The map below shows the number of unique utilities per geographic cluster, which participated at least once over the last 5 years in one of EBCs’ benchmarking programmes.
On 11 March the WHO declared COVID-19 pandemic. According to renowned research institutes (treated) drinking water is well protected against viruses, including the Corona virus. Still extra measures are necessary to secure the continuous availability of safe water- and sanitation services for all.
On Friday 6 March, EBC together with Canal de Isabel II, Waternet and VA SYD organised a Knowledge Picnic.
Water utilties usually use electricity for the abstraction, treatment and distribution of water. Electricity consumption is influenced by the type of water resources, geography, and treatment processes. Pumps are the bulk consumers of electricity in water supply, which makes their efficiency key in efforts to reduce consumption. For the current group of utilities in EBC's Western European programme the median electricity use for production and distribution is 0,52 kWh/m3.
Water is a basic necessity, and customers usually do not have real alternatives to their local water supplier. This dependence places a responsibility on water companies to ensure that their product is affordable. Hence, EBC measures the social sustainability of the drinking water services by showing the water bill as a share of household consumption expenditures. Since 2014, the median value for affordability shows a declining (positive) trend for the group of utilities in EBC's Western European programme.
Globally, water demand is rising and resources are diminishing. Water losses from distribution networks (physical as well as administrative) can reach high levels in some cities. Reduction of these losses can contribute to diminishing water stress. Several utilities in the EBC group report good results in reducing distribution losses over the past five years. In the current year the median of the shown group of utilities is 8,1 m3 / km / day.
EBC’s benchmarking programme measures environmental sustainability with several indicators. Examples are the electricity used for treating wastewater, generating electricity from sludge digestion and biogas production or the percentage of the sludge generated in the treatment process that is utilized in a sustainable way. For the Western European group of utilities in the EBC benchmarking programme the median value of electricity usage for wastewater treatment is 29,0 kWh per population equivalent served by the wastewater treatment plant. The energy consumption of the wastewater treatment plants can differ depending on the level of treatment, which in turn depends on the local discharge consents.
The EBC programme measures the social sustainability of wastewater services by calculating the share of the wastewater bill in household consumption expenditures. This measure gives an impression of the affordability of the wastewater services, accounting for differences in wealth between nations. Since 2014 the median value for affordability shows a declining (positive) trend for the group of utilities in EBC's Western European programme.
To be able to return wastewater safely to the environment or reuse it, it has to be treated thoroughly. The treatment process removes organic and inorganic solids from the liquid waste stream and reduces dissolved and suspended matter (nutrients). Some utilities in EBC's Western European group report a clear improvement of the treatment performance over the past five years. In the current year the median of the shown group of utilities is 94,2%.
EBC’s benchmarking- and improvement programme offers participants a comprehensive analysis of the performance of its utility in comparison with colleague utilities from across Europe. This “fitness check” helps participants finding improvement areas and -priorities in a structured and objective way.
EBC offers a learning-orientated benchmarking programme. Participants to the benchmarking exercise will be able to compare the performance of their own utility with that of peers and collect objective performance information for use in communication to stakeholders.
Since its start in 2007, more than 220 utlities participated in one of EBC's benchmarking programmes. Together they serve millions of customers with water- and wastewater services.
Since 2007, EBC annually organises benchmarking exercises for water- and wastewater utilities operating in Western Europe. Goal of the international benchmarking exercise is to assist drinking water- and wastewater utilities in their continuous efforts to improve their services by benchmarking.
Next to offering a benchmarking programme for Western European utilities, EBC is or has been involved in several other regional benchmarking initiatives, in close collaboration with local partners.
The Public report for the Western European programme shows ranges and median values of 24 key indicators for drinking water- and wastewater services. In order to present a balanced view on the performance of utilities, EBC analyses six performance areas: Access, Water quality, Reliability, Service quality, Sustainability and Finance & Efficiency.
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