Enhancing the Benchmarking System

The National Water Supply and Sanitation Council (NWASCO) Company

Although the benchmarking that NWACSO was doing was at utility level, there was still need for the utilities to pick it up and drill it down to a level where the improvements were inevitable. NAWSCO as the national regulator wanted to ensure that the utilities own the benchmarking process and see it as a useful tool for their performance improvement. As a result of the Good Practice described here, utilities have now formed a benchmarking task team and are running their own benchmarking system at process level.

Contact: Chola Mbilima | cmbilima(at)gmail.com | National Water Supply and Sanitation Council (NWASCO)

Lessons Learnt

The project facilitated learning visits conducted in areas such as NRW, metering, human resource management, technical services and billing. Also utilities have been able to twin with one another, e.g Lukaska Water and Sewerage Company have twined with Mulonga Water, and Western Water and Sewerage Company have twined with North Western Water and Sewerage and are exchanging knowledge and skills.

Objectives

  • Ensure that the utilities own the benchmarking process and see it as a useful tool for performance improvement.
  • Ensure that the performance improvement aspect of benchmarking is strengthened.

Project Description

  • Step 1: Management meeting to discuss the benchmarking system in view of the training that was undertaken. A presentation of the lessons learnt from the training and how they could be applied in the NWASCO context was made.
  • Step 2: Stakeholder consultative meeting was held with the utilities to elaborate the intended changes to the system and their role in the benchmarking system (basically that they should use the results of the NWASCO benchmarking system published in the sector report to induce performance).
  • Step 3: Consultant was engaged to look at how to strengthen the performance improvement aspect of the system and also review the indicators being used.

Results

  1. Utilities have formed a benchmarking task team headed by Lusaka Water and Sewerage Company and are running their own benchmarking system at process level.
  2. The task team facilitates twining and exchange visits among utilities (that is those that are doing better as reported by NWASCO) to learn from one another. This is done at process/departmental level.
  3. A number of learning visits have been conducted in areas such as NRW, metering, human resource management, Technical services and billing.

Sustainability

The process will continue since it has been incorporated as part of the day to day management of the utilities.

WAVE Impact

The Commercial and Financial  Inspector of NWASCO who is part of Zambia WAVE initiated the notion of reviewing the benchmarking system and introducing a performance improvement aspect of benchmarking in the CUs, after the lessons learnt from a WAVE ToT in Germany.

All the 11 utilities in the country and the regulator NWASCO are involved as partners. The process of utility benchmarking was entirely funded by the utilities themselves while the review of the NWASCO benchmarking system was funded by GIZ.