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Water Leaders Award

For the most dramatic performance improvement in a water utility in the developing world in 2018.

Istanbul Water and Sewerage Administration (ISKI), Turkey

What is it?

ISKI is the water and wastewater utility for Turkey’s largest city, Istanbul, serving more than 15 million people across an area of 5,461km², through 22,000km of water transmission lines, and 22,000km of wastewater lines. In Istanbul it operates 21 potable water treatment plants and 87 wastewater treatment plants.

What has it done?

ISKI has become the nation’s leader in smart utility projects aimed at meet the city’s growing environmental, community, and technological needs. It has acted as a flagship for Turkish water and wastewater services at a time when the country’s economy and currency has been placed under growing stress.

What makes it special?

ISKI has been the first in Turkey to deploy ‘E-Exploration’, a unique eco-friendly software which rapidly coordinates water service commencement requests. It has increased the rate at which residents are able to apply for access to clean safe water, with the electronic method taking only 24 hours from start to finish compared to 4 days under the manual method.

A centralised system for monitoring Water Quality in ISKI’s distribution network has been implemented which operates with a long-distance signal, taking multiple measurements and multi-locational samples, instantaneously. It measures residual chlorine, PH, and temperature which support disinfection, control of flavour and scent, and prevention of biological build-up.


Digitisation of the system allows the utility to perform more accurate water quality testing and evaluation while saving time, reducing labour needs, and using fewer vehicles.

The utility has internally developed a new reservoir management technology to address the city’s increasing challenges of water scarcity, population growth, and water quality. The technology, which was first deployed in imrahor, covers the reservoir with a locally-produced biodegradable film which reduces evaporation by 30%, lowers the cost of purification, prevents eutrophication, and creates a community recreation space.


National Water and Sewerage Corporation, Uganda

What is it?

The National Water and Sewerage Corporation (NWSC) is a public utility company 100% owned by the Government of Uganda.

What has it done?

NWSC has become sub-Saharan Africa’s most bankable water utility after securing the continent’s highest ever credit rating for the sector. South Africa-based Global Credit Ratings Co. assigned NWSC a long-term national scale Issuer rating of AA(UG), and a short-term rating of A1+(UG).

What makes it special?

The dramatic credit rating improvement has led the utility to push the envelope further, with the utility’s board approving local commercial financing of UGX50 billion (€12 million) in January 2019. This will catalyse the completion of a three-year 100% service coverage acceleration project (SCAP100), aimed reaching all service units in its operational areas, by 2021. The SCAP100 is an innovative investment activity that relies on low cost capital implementation technologies that use direct local labour and extensive cost sharing by beneficiary communities. The SCAP100 has a significant pro-poor focus and is part of NWSC’s plan to fulfil SDG6 in Uganda.


The utility has developed a full digital programme internally, including interoperable hardware and software systems. The internal development of the programme has significantly reduced costs, empowered and leveraged staff know-how, and ensured the systems perfectly meet the needs of Uganda’s national utility and growing population.

NWSC is innovating its financial model further by laying the foundations for its own insurance subsidiary. The model will create a blueprint for the sector by revolutionising the way insurance payments are made and giving the utility greater control over the distribution of emergency planning and funding.