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Public Water Agency of the Year

For the governmental agency or public body that made the biggest difference to water and wastewater service provision and utility management in 2022.

Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System Regulatory Office, Philippines

What is it?

The MWSS Regulatory Office regulates concessionaires Manila Water and Maynilad, which provide water and wastewater services to Metro Manila and adjacent provinces. It monitors and enforces rates and service standards, arranges independent audits for performance and monitors the infrastructure assets to ensure the services remain safe, sustainable and affordable.

What has it done?

In a tough climate for private water, MWSS RO spearheaded regulatory reforms to expedite the expansion of wastewater coverage in the Philippines. In 2022, coverage for sewers and basic sanitation in the region reached 26% and 82% respectively, a colossal rise from just 9% and 1% pre-privatisation.

What makes it special?

In 2022, MWSS RO introduced a new performance-based tariff system for its two concessionaires after a rate rebasing exercise. The new structure links the ability to increase tariffs directly with increases in sewerage coverage, providing a massive incentive to expand piped wastewater coverage in the Philippines’ most dense urban area. This way, the regulator ensures the concessionaires continue to pursue the coverage targets laid out in their agreements and fast-track the roll-out of wastewater projects.

Through its Citywide Inclusive Sanitation approach to achieve safe sanitation for all, MWSS is encouraging the development of combined sewers to prevent septic tanks from overflowing. Interceptor pipelines capture septic tank overflow and divert it to wastewater treatment plants, preventing pollution and bypassing the need to build a separate sewer system.


To reinforce the city’s efforts to provide sanitation to all, MWSS RO ran a series of successful information and educational campaigns. On the sanitation side, it is encouraging people to use desludging services more frequently to improve sanitation systems. It is also increasing awareness of the costs and benefits of wastewater treatment in order to help buy-in for rate increases.


Indah Water Konsortium, Malaysia

What is it?

Malaysia’s national sewerage company, with a mandate to develop and maintain the country’s wastewater system. The company replaced local authorities as a provider of sewerage services when it was awarded a nationwide concession by the federal government in 1994. Owned by the Ministry of Finance, IWK operates over 7,000 sewage treatment plants and 20,000 km of sewer lines, serving over 30 million people.

What has it done?

As part of its aspiration to be more than a sewerage company, 2022 saw the company make major strides in implementing its roadmap to achieve excellence in its finances, operations and environmental sustainability, pursuing a drive to make sustainability a key aspect of its business operations.

What makes it special?

IWK last year scored a series of achievements on sustainability and the circular economy. It pushed its energy generated from biogas to 5MWh a day and piloted producing energy from micro-hydropower at one of its plants. To increase its renewable energy generation and reduce carbon emissions, it identified 900 sites for its solar energy initiative to install solar panels on plants roofs and tanks. Embracing innovative methods, it is using black fly larvae in its reuse of biosolids to produce fertiliser.

IWK pursued its goal of near perfect performance last year, achieving over 97% effluent compliance rate over its 7,000 treatment plants and a rate collection rate over 92%, a significant improvement over past figures. It also completed expansions of its groundbreaking water reclamation plant which as of December 2022 was producing 4,500m3/d of reclaimed water for industry.


Financially, IWK moved towards its aims to achieve self-sustainability, setting out key strategies to increase revenues. These included a revision of the sewerage tariff as well as building out its consultancy business and land utilisation. The utility also established a pathway to being listed on Malaysia’s stock exchange in what would be a stunning recognition of its business value.

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