Water Company in South Sudan Benefits from Peer-to-Peer Training
A water company in South Sudan is on its way to improving operations and delivering quality water services to underserved urban residents thanks to a peer-to-peer training program organized by SUWASA.
The program linked Ugandan water industry experts with the staff of Maridi Water Utility in South Sudan’s state of Western Equatoria.
Though only a month into the effort, the utility has already reduced operating costs and adopted systems that effectively track performance.
“This was not possible before the training,” said Yoasa Tito Malish, a Maridi Water Utility employee who participated in the project. “But we now appreciate the need to measure and record whether we are operating in an efficient manner.”
The training was part of a three-year Urban Water Sector Reform project organized by Sustainable Water and Sanitation in Africa (SUWASA), a regional initiative of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) implemented by Tetra Tech.
The project’s goal is to assist South Sudan as it builds the institutional foundation of its urban water sector. In particular, the program is working with utility companies in Maridi and Wau, a city in South Sudan’s Western Bahr el Ghazal state.
The job is formidable.
Water utilities in South Sudan, the world’s newest country, are largely underdeveloped. Only about 14 percent of urban residents have access to improved water sources and a small minority has access to piped water. Utility companies face operational challenges including budget shortfalls, incomplete record keeping, insufficient staff capacity and a company culture of poor performance.
The peer-to-peer training approach focused on placing staff members from Uganda’s National Water and Sewerage Corporation (NWSC) in the Maridi Water Utility. Their guidance allowed the South Sudan utility to increase operation of its high-pressure sand filters and reduce filter losses to less than 25 percent, down from 45 percent.
The project also provided support as the utility connected its water treatment plant to Maridi’s electricity grid, reducing energy costs by nearly 30 percent and improving efficiency. The new power connection also improved Maridi Water Utility’s operations and maintenance cost
recovery by 10 percent.
In addition, NWSC offered training that allowed Maridi
Water Utility to:
• Adopt practical recording systems to track operational performance and trends.
• Record data on energy and chemicals and track them in relation to the volume of water treated and distributed.
• Enact a planned preventive maintenance (PPM) schedule for its treatment units and electro-mechanical equipment including generators, pumps and filters.
Maridi Water Utility plans to build on its successes. A small-investment project is in the works that will connect two low-income settlements to the city water system.