What does Asset Management entail?

This is a guest blog by RWSN Member Organisation PRACTICA Foundation.

The definition, advantages and main steps to apply water systems’ asset management.

Our latest blog entry dealt with the main constraints the WASH Alliance International has encountered while working on SDG 6 in the global South. Based on its assessment, the WASH Alliance International felt that Asset Management is potentially one of the best methodologies to improve the sustainability of rural and peri-urban water systems. However, the question arises: What is asset management and how can it be useful for both managers, and users in their regular activities?

Sudarshan Rajbhandari, the Programme Director from Centre of Integrated Urban Development (CIUD, a local NGO in Nepal), shares his instant reaction when he heard about this concept:

‘The first time I heard about asset management I was quite surprised about it.  It sounded like all the pieces of the ‘water system management’ puzzle came together.’

Water supply systems in Nepal are mostly constructed through funding from donor agencies, and with contributions from local communities. Once the systems have been constructed, some local NGOs take up the task to provide capacity building trainings on maintenance and operation. However, these learnings are put into practice without a long-term planning.  Problems are only addressed as they emerge which leads to temporary or quick & cheap solutions, which may not be sustainable in the long run.

Sudarshan agrees that Asset Management is a comprehensive framework that helps to combine all the concepts already being considered in the context of Nepalese water systems. Applying this methodology does not only strengthen operation technically, but also financially. It ensures water systems are functioning continuously.

Defining Asset Management: ‘The activity of achieving and maintaining the agreed water delivery needs (=service level) during a sustained period of time at a certain cost’

Main components of an Asset Management plan

Ideally, asset management is applied during the planning and design phase of any new water supply system, but it can also be used to optimize or rehabilitate existing infrastructure. It consists of three main steps.

Step 1: Maintenance plan based on a service level agreement

  1. Asset inventory & Risk Assessment: provides a clear overview of the system components and their associated risks. It shows their position, current state, expected lifespan, most critical aspects and common ways in which the assets can fail and the effect on the overall system.
  2. Service level agreement: entails a participatory process of establishing an agreement on the service level (the amount and quality of water to be provided, to whom, at what time, for how long and under which specific conditions). Special attention should be given to the fundamental starting point of water allocation- being inclusive. Ensuring water provision to the community as a whole (including poor and disadvantage).
  3. Tariff definition: With the previous information (service level and asset inventory), the yearly maintenance and replacement costs can be estimated.  Setting a baseline for the water tariff agreement between users and managers. Users are often willing to pay more for higher service levels. All groups should be included in the discussion where differentiation in tariffs of certain groups can be an option.
  4. Finally, the maintenance plan can be developed, with detailed information about the income and costs of operating the system.

Step 2: System optimization iterations. By comparing the cost estimation with the estimated income one can optimize the system. For example, when a piped system has a higher cost than income, one can either lower the service level or raise the water tariff to come to a sustainable business case. With these insights, the involved actors can make iterations until everyone agrees with the service level.  

Step 3: Monitoring and adjustment. The third step is to monitor the performance of the system (key parameters encompass water quantity, quality, affordability, reliability, accessibility, and more). This helps to compare prognoses with actual data. For example, are income and expenditures as expected? And if not, are adjustments required to ensure a sustainable solution? Or even better, can the service level be increased for the same tariff?

To close this post, it is key to consider Sudarshan’s vision on water systems’ operation for the coming years.

‘You cannot manage something that you do not understand’

He believes Asset Management is a key methodology to fill the information gap and increase the technical and financial operation of rural and peri-urban water systems. Of course, managers need different tools to implement asset management. In the next posts, the tools being developed by the WASH Alliance International, their conceptualization and their main challenges will be shared.

Special thanks go to Sudarshan from CIUD for sharing his experiences with Asset Management. This document was developed by Practica Foundation as a member of the WASH Alliance International, partner of the WASH SDG Consortium. For more information please contact: info@practica.org or visit www.practica.org. Photo credit: CIUD, Nepal.




在 2017 年,仍有将近 8 亿人口面临基本供水不足的问题。这些人口中,有 80% 居住在农村地区,他们中的很多人曾在某些地方看到过供水点的修建。然而,经过数十年的投资,遗留下来的只有农村供水基础设施和服务失败的残迹。





100M Initiative 将开展一个多阶段的数据收集活动,以预估全球范围内基于结果的资助的规模和可能性。步骤包括:
• 确定并联系尽可能多国家/地区的农村供水服务提供商和服务主管部门,重点关注中低收入国家/地区;
• 开展一项收集数据的简短调查,为不同背景和服务类型间基于结果的资助合同的设计和可行性提供信息;
• 确定多个国家/地区的服务提供商参照组,这些服务提供商有意对基于结果的资助进行大规模建模;
• 利用收集的数据和分析制定最终战略,开展基于结果的资助,并在 2030 年之前为 1 亿人口的供水服务制定基于绩效的合同。


真正的全球诊断需要我们涵盖那些与 RWSN 和其他全球网络互联的提供商以外的农村供水服务提供商。为此我们寻求您的帮助,以尽可能多地识别此类提供商。
• ……在农村地区工作或计划在农村地区工作且愿意完成本次调查的供水服务提供商?
• ……是监督供水服务提供商且愿意完成本次调查的国家或地方主管部门?
• ……正在效力于一个有意探索对农村供水服务基于结果的资助的组织?
• ……能够向我们提供联系方式,以帮助我们建立国家级别的农村水服务提供商和/或农村水计划管理者的全球数据库?

• ……想进一步了解该计划?
• ……有意加入参照组?

请联系 Meleesa Naughton,邮箱 ruralwater[at]skat.ch


REACH 是一项由外交、联邦及发展事务部 (FCDO) 资助,由牛津大学牵头的全球性研究计划,旨在于 2024 年之前改善非洲和亚洲地区 1000 万贫困人口的水资源安全。
由 Skat 基金会主办的农村供水服务网络 (RWSN) 是由 12,000 多名农村供水服务专业人士组成的全球网络,这些人士致力于提高自身的知识、能力和专业水平以实现 RWSN 为全人类提供可持续农村供水服务的愿景。
RWSN 正在与牛津大学合作开展 REACH 计划,旨在于 2030 年前为 1 亿人口提供基于结果的资助。这项工作与 Uptime 财团的成果相关联,可展示基于结果的资助以及可持续性资助逐步实现安全管理水资源目标的途径

Iniciativa RWSN-REACH 100M

Um diagnóstico global de fornecedores de serviços de água rurais para informar o financiamento baseado em resultados.

Qual é o problema?

Em 2017, quase 800 milhões de pessoas ainda careciam de abastecimento básico de água. Oito em cada dez dessas pessoas viviam em áreas rurais, muitas em comunidades que, em um ponto ou outro, viram a construção de pontos de água. No entanto, depois de décadas de investimento, o que ficou para trás é um cemitério de infraestrutura e serviços de abastecimento de água rurais falidos.

De um modo geral, os parceiros do setor concordam: não somente há necessidade de aumentar as operações e financiamento de manutenção; as ligações entre os investimentos e os resultados devem ser mais transparentes e o valor do financiamento público existente deve ser maximizado incentivando o desempenho do setor, melhorando a segmentação dos subsídios e promovendo um melhor planeamento e gestão do setor.

O que é financiamento baseado em resultados?

Particularmente nas áreas rurais, é claro que o financiamento concessionário é necessário para garantir serviços confiáveis para todos. O financiamento baseado em resultados é uma forma de investir esses fundos de maneira direcionada, transparente, orientada por dados e escalonável, ao mesmo tempo que motiva os serviços a melhorar ao longo do tempo.

Métricas de desempenho selecionadas, como o número de pontos de água que funcionam de forma confiável, o volume de água produzido e a quantidade de receita local gerada, são usadas para projetar contratos baseados em desempenho com prestadores de serviços e informar os pagamentos quando os resultados são verificados.

O que vamos fazer?

A Iniciativa 100M empreenderá um exercício de coleta de dados em vários estágios para estimar a escala e o potencial do financiamento baseado em resultados globalmente. As etapas incluirão:

  • Identificar e alcançar fornecedores de serviços de água rurais e autoridades de serviços em tantos países quanto possível, com foco em países de baixa e média renda;
  • Administrar uma pequena pesquisa coletando dados para informar a viabilidade e o design de contratos de financiamento com base em resultados em diferentes contextos e tipos de serviço;
  • Identificar um Grupo de Referência de provedores de serviços em vários países interessados em modelar o financiamento baseado em resultados em escala;
  • Usar dados coletados e análises para finalizar uma estratégia para desenvolver financiamento baseado em resultados para apoiar contratos baseados em desempenho para fornecimento de serviços de água para 100 milhões de pessoas até 2030.

Como tu podes participar?

Um diagnóstico verdadeiramente global requer que alcancemos prestadores de serviços de água rurais além daqueles ligados à RWSN e outras redes globais. Procuramos a sua ajuda para identificar o maior número possível deles.

És tu:

  • …um provedor de serviços de água que trabalhas ou planejas trabalhar em áreas rurais e deseja responder à pesquisa?
  • …uma autoridade nacional ou local que supervisiona os fornecedores de serviços de água e desejas responder à pesquisa?
  • …trabalhando para uma organização interessada em explorar o financiamento baseado em resultados para serviços de água rurais?
  • …capaz de nos fornecer contactos para nos ajudar a construir o nosso banco de dados global de provedores de serviços de água rurais e/ou gestores de programas de água rurais em nível nacional?


  • …gostarias de saber mais sobre esta iniciativa?
  • …terias interesse em fazer parte do Grupo de Referência?

Em seguida, entre em contacto com Meleesa Naughton em ruralwater[at]skat.ch

Sobre nós

REACH é um programa de pesquisa global financiado pelo Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) e liderado pela Universidade de Oxford que visa melhorar a segurança da água para dez milhões de pessoas pobres na África e na Ásia até 2024.

A Rede de Fornecimento de Água a Zonas Rurais (RWSN), hospedada pela Skat Foundation, é a rede global de mais de 12.000 profissionais de fornecimento de água a zonas rurais comprometidos em melhorar o seu conhecimento, competência e profissionalismo, para cumprir a visão da RWSN de serviços de água sustentáveis para todos em zonas rurais.

A RWSN está em parceria com a Universidade de Oxford no âmbito do programa REACH para obter financiamento baseado em resultados para 100 milhões de pessoas até 2030. O trabalho está vinculado às conclusões do Consórcio Uptime em demonstrar financiamento baseado em resultados e caminhos para financiamento sustentável para atender progressivamente às metas de gestão de água com segurança.

Иницитива RWSN-REACH 100M

Глобальный анализ поставщиков услуг сельского водоснабжения в рамках ориентированного на результаты финансирования.

необходимость в увеличении финансирования операций и технического обслуживания. Связи между инвестициями и результатами должны быть более прозрачными, а существующее государственное финансирование необходимо использовать максимально эффективно за счет стимулирования производительности сектора, оптимизации распределения государственной помощи и содействия более качественному планированию и управлению сектором.

Что такое финансирование, ориентированное на результаты?

Очевидно, что льготное финансирование необходимо для обеспечения надежности услуг для всех жителей, особенно в сельской местности. Финансирование, ориентированное на результаты, — это способ целенаправленно и прозрачно инвестировать денежные средства в нужном масштабе с учетом имеющихся данных, при этом стимулируя постепенное совершенствование услуг. Выбранные показатели эффективности, такие как количество надежно и бесперебойно работающих пунктов водоснабжения, объем добытой воды и объем полученного на местах дохода, используются для составления договоров с поставщиками услуг, основанных на результатах, а также для определения суммы платежей после проверки показаний.

В чем заключается наша инициатива?

В рамках инициативы 100M будет проведен многоэтапный сбор данных для оценки масштабов и потенциала финансирования, ориентированного на результаты, во всем мире. Этапы реализации инициативы будут следующими:

  • Определение поставщиков услуг сельскоговодоснабжения и соответствующихрегулирующих органов в максимальновозможном количестве стран и установлениеконтакта с ними. Особое внимание будет уделено странам с низким и средним уровнем доходов.
  • Проведение небольшого опроса с целью сбораданных для определения целесообразностизаключения договоров на финансирование,ориентированное на результаты, а также ихструктуры в различных контекстах и для разныхтипов услуг.
  • Определение референтной группы поставщиковуслуг в нескольких странах, заинтересованных вмасштабном моделировании финансирования,ориентированного на результаты.
  • Использование собранных данных ирезультатов анализа для завершенияразработки стратегии ориентированного нарезультаты финансирования, которая обеспечитподдержку основанных на эффективностидоговоров на предоставление услугводоснабжения для 100 миллионов человек к2030 году.

Как вы можете принять участие?

Для проведения действительно глобального анализа требуется привлечь не только тех поставщиков услуг сельского водоснабжения, которые связаны с RWSN и другими глобальными сетями. Нам нужна ваша помощь в определении как можно большего числа поставщиков услуг в этом секторе.


•…представляете регулирующий органнационального или местного масштаба,осуществляющий контроль надпоставщиками услуг водоснабжения, ижелаете пройти опрос?

•…работаете в организации,заинтересованной в изучениифинансирования услуг сельскоговодоснабжения, ориентированного на результаты?

•…можете предоставить нам контакты,которые помогут нам создать глобальнуюбазу данных поставщиков услуг сельскоговодоснабжения и/или руководителейпрограмм водоснабжения сельскойместности на национальном уровне?

Хотели бы вы:

•…узнать больше об этой инициативе?

•…присоединиться к референтнойгруппе?

Тогда свяжитесь с Мелиссой Нотон по адресу ruralwater[at]skat.ch

О нас

REACH — это глобальная исследовательская программа, финансируемая Министерством иностранных дел и международного развития Великобритании (FCDO) и возглавляемая Оксфордским университетом. Она направлена на улучшение безопасности водоснабжения для десяти миллионов малоимущих людей в Африке и Азии к 2024 году.

Сеть сельского водоснабжения (RWSN), организованная учреждением Skat Foundation, — это глобальная сеть, в которую входят более 12 000 специалистов в области сельского водоснабжения, стремящихся повысить уровень своих знаний, компетентность и профессионализм, чтобы реализовать видение RWSN по обеспечению бесперебойного водоснабжения для всех сельских жителей.

RWSN сотрудничает с Оксфордским университетом в рамках программы REACH с целью эффективной организации ориентированного на результаты финансирования для 100 миллионов человек к 2030 году. Эта инициатива опирается на данные исследований консорциума Uptime, демонстрирующих возможности ориентированного на результаты финансирования и способы перехода на устойчивое финансирование для постепенного достижения целей безопасного управления водными ресурсами.


Ссылка на вебинар на русском языке: Вебинар, проведенный 8 июня 2021 года, был ориентирован на сельских операторов водоснабжения из Восточной Европы и Центральной Азии и объяснял, как операторы водоснабжения могут принять участие или поддержать исследование 100M Global Diagnostic для разработки ориентированного на результат финансирования услуг водоснабжения для 100 миллионов человек к 2030 году.

Quand les systèmes d’adduction d’eau tombent en panne…

Ceci est un blog de la Fondation PRACTICA, Organisation membre du RWSN.

Pourquoi la gestion des actifs est importante pour résoudre les problèmes des systèmes d’approvisionnement en eau potable?

La couverture mondiale des infrastructures hydrauliques répond-elle à l’Objectif de développement durable (ODD) 6 : « Garantir l’accès à l’eau et à l’assainissement pour tous » ? Il serait formidable de pouvoir répondre à cette question par un « oui » confiant. Nous devrions célébrer nos progrès vers cet ODD grâce aux efforts institutionnels consentis et à l’augmentation du nombre de systèmes d’adduction en eau. Cependant, ce n’est pas si simple… Lorsqu’un système d’approvisionnement est construit, des efforts continus sont nécessaires pour maintenir l’accès à l’eau. Les derniers rapports (2014) du Népal montrent que seulement 50% des systèmes d’approvisionnement en eau du pays fonctionnent encore. Cela implique que la plupart des habitants des zones rurales n’ont toujours pas accès à ce liquide vital, ou sont confrontés à de sérieuses contraintes. 

Problèmes les plus courants des systèmes

Les défis liés au fonctionnement des systèmes d’approvisionnement en eau sont multiples. L’un des principaux problèmes est l’accent mis sur la construction des infrastructures. Pour que les systèmes fonctionnent à long terme, il est essentiel de planifier les (futurs) coûts qui seront nécessaire pour maintenir le système en état de marche. Cependant, la stratégie est souvent orientée vers une réflexion à court terme et la résolution des problèmes lorsqu’ils apparaissent.

 « Lorsque le système d’eau tombe en panne…, on cherche des fonds pour le réparer. »

Une autre pratique courante consiste à surdimensionner les systèmes d’eau lors de leur conception. Or, pendant la phase de conception, il n’y a souvent pas d’informations fiables sur le marché et l’équilibre entre les revenus et les dépenses est régulièrement négligé. Cela empêche une planification précise et conduit à des conceptions qui ne correspondent pas à la situation réelle. Souvent, les systèmes sont plus larges que nécessaire, cela entraîne une complexité opérationnelle accrue et des coûts d’entretien plus élevés que pour les plus petits systèmes.

« Certains systèmes sont donc conçus pour échouer dès le début ».

De plus, il n’y a souvent pas assez d’argent mis de côté par les communautés locales pour entretenir ou réparer les systèmes en temps opportun. Les connaissances sur pourquoi et comment les systèmes tombent en panne et quand certaines pièces doivent être remplacées avant qu’elles ne fuient, s’érodent ou s’usent, font souvent défaut.

« Avec des niveaux élevés de non-fonctionnalité et de faibles niveaux de service, il est clair que les actifs d'eau ruraux ne sont pas gérés de manière adéquate. C'est également un symptôme de l'accent mis sur l'accès ‘pour la première fois’, qui doit se déplacer vers une prestation de services à long terme. Il est nécessaire que les acteurs du secteur rural de l'eau suivent l’exemple d'autres industries plus professionnalisées, et commencent à adopter des pratiques de gestion d'actifs » (Boulenouar, 2014).

L’Alliance WASH a uni ses efforts

Depuis 2019, l’Alliance internationale WASH a travaillé sur le développement d’outils de gestion des actifs pour améliorer la gestion et l’entretien des systèmes d’eau ruraux et périurbains. Le Népal a été sélectionné pour le projet pilote. Les sorties se composent d’une méthodologie complète et d’outils numériques pour la gestion des actifs des systèmes d’adduction en eau ruraux. Ce projet offre une occasion unique d’améliorer la durabilité des services d’approvisionnement en eau. Les ressources sont développées en prenant en comptes les capacités et besoins des utilisateurs.

Développement de logiciel sur mesure

La gestion des actifs des infrastructures n’est pas un concept nouveau, elle est discutée depuis les années 80 en Europe et l’intérêt pour cette approche ne cesse de croître. Il est couramment appliqué à toutes sortes d’infrastructures publiques (ponts, routes, réseaux d’égouts). Plusieurs cabinets spécialisés proposent leurs services sur ce sujet et une gamme de formations est disponible. En outre, des logiciels commerciaux sont disponibles. Cependant, la majorité a été développée dans une perspective occidentale. Cela a abouti à des progiciels très complets, mais aussi très complexes. Ils sont trop complexes pour être utilisés par les comités locaux d’usagers et les prestataires de services dans les zones rurales ou (péri-)urbaines des pays en développement. Outre les compétences élevées requises pour travailler avec ces packages, leurs coûts excessifs les rendent totalement hors de portée des comités locaux d’utilisateurs de l’eau ou des prestataires de services.

Dans notre prochain blog, les composantes d’un plan de gestions des actifs, le processus de mise en œuvre et son rôle dans l’amélioration de la gestion financière seront abordés.

Ce document a été développé par la Fondation Practica en tant que membre de WASH Alliance International, partenaire du WASH SDG Consortium. L’auteur principal du blog est Aldo Zamarroni Peralta, soutenu par un certain nombre de collègues de l’Alliance Internationale WASH. Les photos ont été prises par le Centre pour le développement urbain intégré (CIUD), Népal. Pour plus d’information veuillez contacter: office@practica.org

Référence: Boulenouar, J. (2014). Gestion des actifs d’infrastructure : un élément clé pour soutenir les services d’eau en milieu rural.

Cuando los sistemas de agua potable se rompen …

Esta entrada fue realizada por PRACTICA Foundation como miembro de la organización RWSN.

La importancia del manejo de activos en los sistemas de agua potable en el contexto del desarrollo

Debemos de preguntarnos si la cobertura de agua potable en el mundo satisface el Objetivo de Desarrollo Sostenible (ODS) 6: “Agua limpia y saneamiento para todos”. Sería increíble poder contestar con un confiado “si” y tomando en cuenta todos los esfuerzos institucionales y el incremento en el numero de sistemas de agua en el mundo deberíamos estar celebrando nuestro progreso con respecto a este ODS.

Sin embargo, la respuesta no es tan sencilla. Cuando un sistema de agua potable es construido, también se requiere un esfuerzo continuo para mantener el agua fluyendo. Por ejemplo, el ultimo reporte (2014) de Nepal muestra que solo el 50% de los sistemas de agua en aquel país se encuentran funcionando actualmente. Esto implica que la gran mayoría de las comunidades rurales todavía no cuentan con acceso al agua o padecen severas restricciones. Ejemplos de estas restricciones son el solamente recibir agua por determinados periodos de tiempo, o que la calidad del agua sea tan baja que no pueda ser destinada al consumo humano.

Los problemas mas comunes en los sistemas de agua potable

Los desafíos a los que se enfrentan los gerentes de sistemas de agua potable son multifacéticos.

Uno de ellos es la gran atención que se le pone solamente a la fase constructiva. Una vez que el sistema esta construido se tiende a olvidar el esfuerzo continuo para operar y darle mantenimiento al sistema.  En el largo plazo, resulta mejor tener un plan solido en el cual se consideren todos los costos. Sin embargo, en la mayoría de los casos la estrategia recae en una visión de corto plazo, en la que los problemas se solucionarán solo cuando ocurran.

‘Cuando el sistema de agua falla…, entonces uno va y busca dinero para repararlo o cambiar la pieza’

Otro problema común es el sobredimensionamiento de los sistemas. Este problema se debe a la falta de información proveniente desde la perspectiva de los usuarios y a la falta de un balance entre las entradas y las salidas hablando en términos monetarios. Esto ocasiona que los diseños no correspondan con la situación real de las localidades. Resultando en sistemas que son mas costosos y complejos de operar. 

‘Algunos sistemas están entonces diseñados para fallar desde el momento en el que comienza su construcción’

Además, en el sistema no se cuenta con la planeación requerida para llevar acabo las actividades de mantenimiento, con miras a poder prevenir las refacciones que se van a necesitar.

‘Con altos niveles de falla y bajo nivel de servicio, es claro que los sistemas de agua potable en las comunidades rurales carecen de información. Esto es un síntoma inequívoco de solamente enfocarse en construir, sin preocuparse por finalizar un sistema que pueda ser funcional mucho tiempo. Dicho esto, surge una necesidad en el sector rural de profesionalizar la construcción de infraestructura siguiendo la metodología de manejo de activos (Boulenouar, 2014)’.

Los esfuerzos conjuntos de la alianza WASH

Desde 2019, la Alianza WASH Internacional ha estado trabajando en Nepal en la implementación de un proyecto piloto. En el cual los productos consisten en el desarrollo de una metodología y conceptualización de herramientas digitales para el manejo de activos en pequeños y medianos sistemas de agua. Este proyecto representa una oportunidad única para mejorar la sostenibilidad a largo plazo de los sistemas. La metodología incluye considerar a todos los actores involucrados, sus necesidades y sus capacidades en la conceptualización de las herramientas.

Desarrollo de las herramientas digitales en el contexto del desarrollo

El manejo de activos relacionados con la infraestructura no es un concepto nuevo, surgió en 1980 en Europa. Comúnmente se aplica a todo tipo de infraestructura pública como son puentes, autopistas, vías ferroviarias, etc. Existiendo una gran variedad de firmas especializadas que ofrecen sus servicios en la capacitación sobre este tema. A la par de una gran variedad de software que se encarga del manejo de activos en tiempo real.

Sin embargo, la gran mayoría de las herramientas se han desarrollado sin considerar las necesidades rurales. Esto resulta en programas muy completos, pero muy complicados de utilizar. Se convierten en obsoletos, pues los usuarios tienden a abandonar su uso.

En nuestro siguiente blog abordaremos los principales componentes de un plan de manejo de activos, el proceso de implementación y el rol que juega en la mejora de las finanzas de un sistema de agua potable.

Este documento fue realizado por Practica Foundation como miembro de la Alianza WASH, parte del consorcio WASH SDG. La información fue escrita por Aldo Zamarroni Peralta, con apoyo de los colegas de la Alianza WASH Internacional. Las fotografías han sido provistas por el Centro Integrado de Desarrollo Urbano (CIUD) ubicado en Nepal. Para más información por favor contactar: office@practica.org: y https://www.practica.org

Referencia: Boulenouar, J. (2014). Infrastructure asset management: a key building block for sustaining rural water services. 

When water systems break down…

This is a guest blog by RWSN Member Organisation PRACTICA Foundation.

Why Asset Management is important to solve water systems’ problems in the development context.

Does world-wide water infrastructure coverage fulfil the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6: “Ensure access to water and sanitation to all”? It would be great to answer this question with a confident ‘yes’ and considering the institutional efforts made and the increase in the number of water systems, we should be celebrating our progress towards this SDG. However, it is not that simple. When a water system is built, ongoing efforts are required to keep water flowing. For example, the latest reports (2014) from Nepal show that only 50% of the water systems in country are functioning well. This implies that most people in rural areas still do not have access to this vital liquid or face serious constraints. For example, receiving water only for a limited number of hours per day and/or water of a poor quality.

Most common water systems’ problems

Challenges related to the functioning of water systems are multi-faceted. One mayor issue is the strong focus on infrastructure construction. Once water systems have been built it is easy to forget about the continuous efforts required for operation and maintenance. In the long run, it is essential to have a solid planning on (future) costs needed to keep the system working. However, often the strategy is leaning toward short-term thinking and solving challenges when they appear.

 ‘When the water system breaks down…, one seeks funds to repair it.’

Another common practice is to over-size water systems while designing them. During the design phase there is often no reliable information from the consumers’ perspective and the balance between income and expenditure is neglected. This hinders accurate planning and leads to designs that are a ‘mismatch’ with the actual situation. Often, systems are bigger than necessary, which results in increased operational complexity and higher costs than smaller systems would require.

‘Some systems are thus designed to fail from the very beginning’.

Furthermore, there is not enough money set aside by the local communities to timely maintain or repair the systems. The knowledge on why and how systems break down and when certain parts need to be replaced before they leak, erode, or wear out, is often also lacking.

‘With high levels of non-functionality and low levels of service, it is clear that rural water assets are not being adequately managed. It is also a symptom of the current focus on first-time access, which needs to shift to a focus on long term service delivery. There is a need for actors within the rural water sector to follow other infrastructure-heavy and professionalized industries, and start adopting asset management practices’ (Boulenouar, 2014).

The WASH Alliance joined efforts

Since 2019, the WASH Alliance International has been working on the development of Asset Management Tools to improve the management and maintenance of rural and peri-urban water systems. Nepal has been selected for the pilot project. The outputs consist of a comprehensive methodology and digital tools for asset management of small/medium-sized rural water systems. This project provides a unique opportunity to improve the long-term sustainability of water service provision. In the development of the resources, the whole spectrum of users, their needs and capacities are being considered.

Tailor-made software development for the development context

Improving asset management of infrastructure is not a new concept, it has been discussed since the 1980s in Europe and the interest for this approach is still growing. It is commonly applied to all kinds of public infrastructure (bridges, railways, roads, sewer systems). Several specialized firms offer their services on this topic and a range of trainings are available nowadays. Also, commercial software is readily available on the market.

However, the majority has been developed from a Western perspective. This has resulted in very complete, but also very complex software packages. They are too challenging to be used by local Water User Committees and service providers in rural or (peri) urban settings in developing countries. Next to the high skill set required to work with these packages, their excessive costs make them completely out of reach for local water user committees or service providers.

In our next blog, the components of an AM plan, the implementation process and its role in improving the financial management of water systems will be addressed.

This document was developed by Practica Foundation as a member of the WASH Alliance International, partner of the WASH SDG Consortium. The blog’s lead author is Aldo Zamarroni Peralta, supported by a number of colleagues from WASH Alliance International. For more information please contact: office@practica.org

Reference: Boulenouar, J. (2014). Infrastructure asset management: a key building block for sustaining rural water services. Photo credit: CIUD, Nepal

NEW! Rural Water 2021 + RWSN Blue Pages / Pages Bleues

We are delighted that announce the launch today of “Rural Water 2021” and the “RWSN Blue Pages / Pages Bleues”, which you can download now from the RWSN website: https://www.rural-water-supply.net/en/resources/details/944

Continue reading “NEW! Rural Water 2021 + RWSN Blue Pages / Pages Bleues”

Self-supply: why I wrote the book

by Dr Sally Sutton, SWL Consultants, on her new book “Self-supply: Filling the gaps in public water supply provision” available to buy, or free to download from Practical Action Publishing from 15 February 2021.

Moving from deserts to humid lands

After 14 years working as a hydrogeologist in the deserts of the Middle East on traditional water supplies and wellfield construction, I moved to sub-Saharan Africa, which presented a whole new challenge.

The easier availability of water was the most obvious difference – sometimes too much so (see photo)- but other important ones were the low quality of water and scattered population.

New challenges – Large areas with accessible groundwater and sparse populations – water, water everywhere but not a drop to drink.
Continue reading “Self-supply: why I wrote the book”

Crowding-in Commercial Financing to Water Supply and Sanitation Utilities

This is a guest blog by RWSN Members Lance Morrell and Michael Ashford.

Achieving SDG6, clean water, and sanitation for all by 2030 requires estimated investments of US$114 billion per year. The present value of the total investment needed is US$1.7 trillion, and these estimates do not include costs of operation and maintenance. At three times current levels, this far exceeds the financing capacity of the entire public sector and donor community, combined.  

We in the development community need new tools and approaches to address this gap. Using donor and public funds to “crowd-in” private investment can help. USAID’s recently announced Private-Sector Engagement (PSE) Policy, for example, recognizes the urgency of using development funding to attract private sector capital into development of infrastructure and services around the world. Similarly, USAID’s Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Finance (WASH-FIN) program is developing and piloting specific interventions to increase private and public investment in WASH. The World Bank’s Public-Private Infrastructure Advisory Facility (PPIAF) is another important source of information and successes on how to leverage the public and donor sectors’ financial power to increase private investment in public infrastructure and services. In all cases, the policies and prescriptions call for the use of market-based approaches as the only sustainable path to sustainably support communities in achieving development and humanitarian outcomes.

While “billions and trillions” of capital for WASH feels overwhelming, outside of 20th century Soviet-style economies, public infrastructure was never meant to be financed, funded, and operated with public resources alone. Commensurate with the growing financing gaps, there is today a glut of private sector capital looking for reliable investments that meet their investment criteria. Globally, pension funds, insurance companies, sovereign wealth funds and commercial banks hold approximately US$100 trillion in assets. In this light, the global financial system is out of balance, and the challenge is to attract private capital and other types of private sector participation into the water and sanitation sector. Development professionals, working with their government counterparts, must now “put skin in the game” without sacrificing the broader objective of shared, public benefits and economic growth.

Changing Project Funding to Crowd-In Private Investments

If the private sector has the capital needed to expand and improve the performance of the WASH sector, why haven’t governments been able to access it? How do we crowd-in the private sector?

The first step is to stop crowding-out private investment with donor funds. Governments and donors crowd-out private investors by providing grants or ill-designed concessional financing against which the private sector cannot compete. Financing and funding are products that banks and donors, respectively, want recipients to “buy;” the price is the interest rate. Free or cheap money from donors is not something private capital can beat.

There are numerous real-world examples of crowding-out in development, which follow the same basic scenario: Donor X works with a government to develop a project that will use public and donor funds to attract commercial financing to the project. In order to attract – or crowd-in – the commercial financing, government will work with financiers to understand their concerns and design appropriate risk mitigating measures. To crowd-in the private sector, the project designers require time to develop both the demand and the supply side. As this project preparation is proceeding and nearing agreement, Donor Y approaches the government and offers grant financing for 100 percent of the cost of the project, and crowds-out the private sector.

In contrast, as USAID’s PSE policy emphasizes, governments must engage and collaborate with the private sector, and the private sector must be allowed to manage its level of risk and to earn a reasonable profit. Adhering to an enterprise-driven development model, USAID and other donors are aiming to play a catalytic role in achieving results, rather than fully funding and managing the majority of its projects. The PSE model recognizes that the private sector represents nearly 90 percent of the direct foreign investment to developing countries, and the model represents a strategic approach through which USAID would consult and collaborate with the private sector for greater scale, sustainability and effectiveness. Under this approach, USAID will attract, or crowd-in, the private investors.

Increasing Government Commitment

Government is the key stakeholder in attracting private sector financing to the WASH sector. To effectively express these commitments, government officials need to understand the benefits and costs of the WASH sectorfrom the perspective of commercial finance. Some of the potential policies and actions include the following, with the commitment type identified in parentheses:

  • Sharing capital costs or providing limited guarantee of recovery of capital costs (lump sum);
  • Guaranteeing continuous payments during project performance to recover capital costs overtime or sharing in expected revenue from tariffs to cover financing costs (revenue flows);
  • Indirect market development by requiring improved operational performance of the utility, whether publicly or privately owned, to reduce expenses and increase revenue, so the utility can enter into direct lending arrangements (regulatory enforcement);
  • Contractually transferring asset management of utilities, if owned by government, through performance-based contracting with private sector service providers (give up control of asset).

Developing a business relationship between governments, utilities and commercial lenders takes time and patience, and the path forward should be gradual to allow all parties to develop trust and confidence. For example, commercial lenders could start with financing smaller projects that enhance revenue for the utility, such as new or upgraded water meters or increasing customer connections. If the utility then dedicates the additional revenue attributable to the project to the private investor, the private investor’s and utility’s interests align around ensuring performance during operation. After the loan is paid off, the additional revenue accrues back to the utility. Once the utility passes this kind of test with private investors, it can expand follow-on borrowing to finance further extensions of the water supply system –again using new cash flow that is “ring-fenced” to repay next the loan.  Meanwhile, scarce public funds are protected and can be used for projects which have high economic value but low financial viability, such as a new sewage treatment system. Overall, the goal is to create more incentives for private capital to partner with donors and government toward shared development goals.

About the authors

  • Lance Morrell is a financial specialist with more than 35 years of professional experience, and is the Founder and Managing Director of FEI Consulting;
  • Michael Ashford is senior clean energy and infrastructure professional with more than 20 years of experience, and is the Global Practice Lead for the Water, Energy, and Sustainable Cities practice at Chemonics International.

This blog post represent the views of the authors and does not necessarily represent the views of Chemonics. Photo credit: Gerardo Pesantez / World Bank.