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Water Leaders Award: Shortlist

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

Shortlisted Nominees


Aguas Bonaerenses S.A., Argentina

What is it?

Aguas Bonaerenses SA (ABSA) is one of the largest potable water and sanitation operators in Argentina, serving more than 2.5 million people across 79 locations in the Province of Buenos Aires.

What has it done?

ABSA has bounced back from a 12-year deficit by implementing a new management model, leading to a growing operating surplus, increasing its assets by 255%, and providing a better service to the Province of Buenos Aires and its surrounding environment.

What makes it special?

ABSA’s new management model was developed internally and focuses on building performance in distinct Management Control Areas. The goals of continuous and progressive improvement have started to bear fruit in 2018 with the acceleration of infrastructure projects, including the replacement of 200,000m of pipes. The increased focus on asset management has not only helped to reduce leakage and increase water supply security, but also dramatically improve water quality.


The upgrade and expansion of the General Rodriguez Wastewater Treatment Plant has dramatically increased access to urban sanitation, with the doubling of the total treatment capacity to 32,000 people.

Improvements across the utility’s province-wide operations have created new efficiencies, decreasing overall energy consumption by 13% this year. The reduced carbon emissions have improved the utility’s environmental footprint as well as local air quality.


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.


National Water Commission, Jamaica

What is it?

The National Water Commission (NWC) is Jamaica’s only water and sewerage utility. It produces 180 million gallons of potable water each day to more than 500,000 registered accounts, representing about 2 million people across Jamaica.

What has it done?

In 2018, the NWC made a huge breakthrough tackling non-revenue water reduction in the capital city Kingston, thanks to a major payoff from a performance-based collaboration with Israeli leak detection and water reduction management company, Miya.

What makes it special?

The innovative format of co-management, where NWC supplies man-power and equipment to carry out works addressing leak detection and repairs and pressure management under the supervision and guidance of Miya staff, ensures proper capacity building and a sustainable future for NWC. The programme has not only improved the operational and financial efficiencies of the utility but has also helped to revolutionise the clean safe water service in 61 socially-challenged areas of Kingston.

The $42.5 million five-year programme, which began in 2016, paid off heavily in 2018 and is well ahead of schedule, having already achieved a 26% reduction in NRW by the end of the year.


The project, which is designed to reduce NRW in the area from 63% to 30% by 2020, has already reduced average water consumption from 1,040 litres per connection per day to approximately 766 litres per connection per day by the end of last year.

The programme has been supported by massively scaled-up investment in efficiency management with the installation of more than 48,000 state-of-the-art customer meters, installation of more than 1,300 new valves, NRW-focused retraining of 300 staff, and upgrades to more than 3,000km of pipeline.


The Global Water Awards 2018 is proudly sponsored by:

Evoqua logo, links to Evoqua homepage

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