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IB2017 Benchmarking workshop: Turning data to solutions

2018-11-19
author: Tom Bijkerk

From 14 – 16 November 2018, participants in the IB2017 benchmarking exercise for Western Europe gathered in Athens, Greece for the 12th edition of the annual benchmarking workshop. Almost 90 representatives from around Europe and beyond, including guests from regional benchmarking hubs in the Danube region, the EIB and Aqua Publica Europea participated in a lively, dynamic and inspirational atmosphere.

EYDAP (https://www.eydap.gr/en/TheCompany/CompanyProfile/) the water- and wastewater utility of Athens, kindly offered to sponsor and host this year’s workshop. Almost 90 delegates from 16 different countries gathered in the National Library at the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Centre in Athens, to discuss this year’s benchmarking results, share good practices, common challenges and catch up with the colleagues.

Group picture IB2017

Participants in the IB2017 annual benchmarking workshop for Western Europe.

Turning data into action – knowledge picnics

This year the workshop focused on turning data to solutions, with a focus on how to improve the water sector with the power of performance data. One of the possible solutions launched during the workshop was the concept of knowledge picnics. During these short expert meetings (small groups of max. 10 to 15 people) the intention is to share best practices around one specific theme. The benchmark results can help in finding the relevant topics for these picnics, define improvement potential and help in finding the best performers who might be able to share best practices. 

The programme

The workshop started with an Introduction by Effie Nestorides from EYDAP and Peter Dane from EBC, followed by a plenary session on the importance of climate resilience. In this session 4 utilities from across Europe shared their experiences from last winter and summer and how these had affected the daily operations.   

In the morning part, the break-out sessions focused on the assessment part and benchmark results of this year. After lunch the sessions shifted from assessment to improvement with a focus on sharing good practices related to climate resilience and improvement.

Impressions of the workshop

Day two started with a short feedback session from the moderators of day 1, followed by a plenary session in which Klara Ramm, chair of the EurEau III Chair of the EurEau Committee on Economics and Legal Affairs gave an update of the developments in Brussels. 

After the break the group had the choice between sessions on a wide pallet of themes, ranging from operational excellence, strategy to sustainability and regulation.

The workshop ended with a field visit to the Europe’s largest wastewater treatment plant, Psyttaleia. After a short boat trip the group was guided around the plant located on an island of the coast of Athens, with the enthusiasm known to the water sector.

Impressions of the site visit

Benchmarking coordinator of the year & the first benchmarking certificate  

At the traditional workshop dinner, the Benchmarking Co-ordinator of the Year Award was handed to the team of MPWIK w Warszawie (Poland) and to the team of PAEW (Oman).

The EBC-team congratulates the winners of this year’s award and encourages them to continue their good work!

Awarding the Benchmarking Coordinator of the Year Award

During dinner also the first EBC benchmarking certificate was awarded. This certificate intends to acknowledge the organisations that are seriously working on improving their service.