In the People’s Republic of China, ADB closely coordinates its WOPs Program with the China Urban Water Association (CUWA).
The first twinning partnership established in the country involved the Zheng Zhou Water Supply Corporation and City West Water (CWW) of Melbourne, Australia. As a result of continuous consultations with its member utilities, CUWA recommended the Baotou Water Supply General Company (BWSGC) as another beneficiary of the WOPs program.
Established in 1956, BWSGC provides water supply services to Baotou City in the Autonomous Region of Inner Mongolia. Currently, its service population is estimated to be around 1.4 million residents. With a water distribution network totaling 1,510 kilometers, BWSGC is constantly managing its water assets to ensure the continuous provision of safe water supply to its customers.
In its desire to improve operational efficiency and service delivery, BWSGC sought participation in ADB’s WOPs program since it offers a non-traditional way for operators to build capacities through peer-to- peer mentoring.
The selected mentor for the program, CWW, is no stranger to twinning arrangements with Chinese utility operators, having been a mentor to the Guiyang Beikong Water Group Company before. Its extensive experience in the provision of drinking water, sewerage, trade waste, and recycled water services in Melbourne is sure to help BWSGC attain its goal.
To set the partnership in motion, CWW and BWSGC developed a joint work plan for implementation. This covered remote consultations, in-country visits, and technical training session focusing on establishment of a DMA; development of key performance indicators (KPIs) to measure system performance; development of a hydraulic model; and understanding network pressure management.
Over a period of more than 2 years, the twinning arrangement was able to accomplish the following:
Pilot DMA. A pilot DMA area was established by BWSGC in Tiexi district where a number of activities were undertaken to improve system efficiency. These included installation of bulk flow meters, installation of water meters in unmetered areas, improvement in meter reading processes, and replacement of poor performing water mains. This has significantly contributed to the reduction of NRW levels by half (31% in 2013 to 16.3% in 2014).
Development of KPIs. BWSGC has demonstrated a working knowledge of KPI data capture and performance reporting. Three KPIs were developed: NRW, water main breaks per 100 kilometer, and average time to rectify water repairs. The analysis of KPI performance highlighted potential improvement areas and the results have been instrumental in assisting BWSGC in developing targeted asset management and maintenance activities. This, in turn, translated to reduced water losses and service interruptions.
Hydraulic modeling. CWW provided specialized training on the use of freely available software to develop a simple hydraulic model for the selected pilot area. The training consisted of the basic development, calibration, use, and analysis of the hydraulic model.
Pressure management. Considering that the current network distribution managed by BWSGC operates at relatively low pressures, CWW suggested that its initiatives concerning pressure management be put on hold.
The partnership has left a good and lasting impression to both parties. At the final mentor visit on August 2014, BWSGC and CWW entered into a memorandum of understanding to further bolster and sustain their cooperation and working relationship long after the mentoring program has lapsed.