CEO's note

Written by Super User.

RESTRUCTURING

Since the institutionalization of Water and Sanitation Corporation (WASA C Ltd) one and a half years ago, following a decision by the Government of Rwanda to unbundle the Energy Water and Sanitation Authority ( EWSA ) and establish two business oriented Corporations responsible for Energy as well as Water and Sanitation, the WASA C Board of Directors and the Management, with the support of the Ministry of Infrastructure undertook the initiative to take stock of priority actions that would offset challenges that impeded former EWSA to deliver its mandate.

On the onset, the immediate action undertaken by WASA C Management was to develop a robust and dynamic governance structure filled with staff capable of delivering company mandate and put in place effective internal procedures which foster efficiency transparency and accountability. As a result, within the short period of its existence, WASAC has achieved a number of milestones which lay down a foundation for a better future for the company. Two of the fundamental requirements by any water and sewerage utility namely acquisition of a credible billing system and meeting water demand for customers have been greatly achieved.

The former have been fully achieved in Huye and Muhanga which have been water scarce towns, while big strides have been made in Kigali City, Rusizi, Nyagatare, Kayonza, Rwamagana, Ruhango, Nyanza and Rusizi where projects which address water shortage will be completed this year.

1.      DEVELOPMENT OF AN EFICIENT AND CREDIBLE BILLING SYSTEM 

 Taking the advantage of what ICT canoffer and using internal resources and own staff, WASA C developed an electronic billing system called Customer Management System (CMS) which has been integrated with all commercial banks and mobile telecommunication service providers operating in Rwanda. This in-house developed water billing system has facilitated water customers in paying their water bills without attending and queuing long hours at WASA C branches, eliminated errors and manipulation of revenue entries in company accounts and have built capacity of our staff working in IT and commercial departments. A Live billing system which will produce and deliver bills in real time as meter indexes are read at customer’s residence has been developed and will be unveiled in a month time. This will enable WASA C to reduce its billing cycle from 30 to 15 days and thereby improving on a cash flow and service delivery.

2. METING WATER DEMAND FOR CUSTOMERS IN KIGALI CITY

Before commissioning of the new Nzove 2 Project this month, the City of Kigali with the population slightly above 1,100,000 people, and urbanizing at a high rate of over 16% per year faced serious water scarcity (water crisis), despite government investment, which has seen an increment in water production by the water utility from 24,000 M3/ day to 65,000M3/day, in the last 6 years. The challenges faced by WASA C associated with demand gap have been chronic complaints from customers who did not get adequate water and high non-revenue water caused by water loss through pipe breakages which resulted into tarnished company image.

Today, WASA C has managed to complete and commission Nzove 2 Project in a record time of 11 months, adding 25,000M3/day on the existing 65,000M3/ day capacity and enabling WASA C to produce 90,000M3/day and thereby reducing the water demand gap for the City from 45,000M3 to just 20,000M3/ay. The current total water demand in Kigali is 110,000M3/day.

DESCRIPTION AND SCOPE OF NZOVE 2 PROJECT

Nzove 2 Project is located on Nyabarongo River side at the existing Nzove 1 Water Treatment Plant, next to Skol Breweries in Nzove Cell of Nyarugenge District. The project is a result of the efforts by WASA C and the Ministry of Infrastructure to establish and implement quick win but sustainable solutions to address water crisis in Kigali, following a directive by the 2014, 12th National leadership Retreat chaired by His Excellency the President of the Republic Paul Kagame. The Project was initiated just before the retreat but it was after the retreat in March 2014 that conditions for implementation including resolution no. 6 which directed MINECOFIN to increase budget for Water and Sanitation subsector were met and project started. The project which is fully financed by the Government of Rwanda through WASA C Development Budget is divided into phase one which includes:

-      -  Construction of an intake, rawwater transportation pipe, construction of sedimentation tanks all with the capacity to produce 40,000M3/day

-       - Construction of a pump house installed with pumps with 25.000M3/day Capacity - Installation of Culligan OFFSY Filters with 25,000M3/day Capacity, and

-       - 1000M3 capacity fibre glass tank and connect it to the existing 2000M3 Concrete tank

 After a thorough Corporate and technical due diligence at the Regional Head Office in Turkey and Italy where there are similar treatment plants with one constructed at Nzove, WASA C signed a contract with Culligan International which is a leading global innovator of advanced water treatment solutions with more than 75 years of operations. Culligan International is an American Company headquartered in Illinois, United States which sells its products in more than 90 countries. The total cost of the Nzove 2 project is US$ 7,405,480 including all taxes.

3. ADVANTAGES AND UNIQUENESS OF NZOVE 2 PROJECT AND CULLIGAN TECHNOLOGY

Nzove 2 Project has come with whole lots of advantages including the following:

-      -  Low Investment Cost/Capex per M3 of water produced which is US 296.21 ( only 25,000M3/day capacity) without considering that the intake, Sedimentation tanks, the OFFSY Slab and Pump house have installed capacity of 40,000M3/day, compared to USD 750

-       - 1,000 per M3 for all other previous projects.

-       - Low Operation and Maintenance / OPEX cost because Nzove 2 project will consume less energy, chemicals and labor. Expected servings on OPEX will not be below USD 936,000 per year compared to other existing Treatment Plants

-        - Using Culligan Technology, WASA C has for the first time managed to treat high turbid Nyabarongo River Water. This assures WASA C of a new and vastly available raw water resource for Kigali.

-        - Shorter period to complete the project and deliver water. Unlike Nzove 2 Project which was completed in a record time of 11 months, similar projects with same size were completed in more than 2 years.

 We have extended our network for over 200 km in general but the specific one which is a very big achievement that we have done in house is the extension of water network from NZOVE to Mount Kigali where we have constructed one booster pump at an area called Karama on Mount Kigali and a 400 cubic meter tank at mount Kigali. We have already laid pipeline on this part; phase one of this project which is Mount Kigali connecting NZOVE with Nyamirambo Branch network. This is completed. Phase 2 will be to connect Mount Kigali and Remera network which are also being done internally – this is almost 80% complete, only delayed by the expropriation of few people. 

So once completed, it’ll be possible transporting water from NZOVE treatment plant to Rebero. We already have a 500 cubic meter tank to be connected. A ring pipeline will therefore improve services because water will be transported by gravity to naturally reach everyone in Gikondo and Nyamirambo. This will also reduce the cost of energy used in pumping water.

4. IMMEDIATE PLAN TO FULLY ADDRESS WATER DEMAND GAP IN KIGALI CITY 

In order to fully address water shortage and cover the remaining short and medium water demand gap in Kigali , WASA C has signed another contract with Culligan International to rehabilitate the existing Nzove 1 Water Treatment Plant and optimize it to full 40,000M3/day capacity,

Upgrade Nzove 2 WTP from 25,000M3/day,

Construction of Forwarding towards Mt. Kigali ( 4Km 600mm Ductile Pipe, Construction and installation of 2 pump houses, Construction of 2 reservoirs with 7,000M3 capacity), Construction of a new intake and installation of Chlorine Production Unit. At the end of the project which will be completed in January 2017, WASA C will have the capacity to produce 120,000M3/Day which fully covers water demand for Kigali. The cost of the project is USD 28.000.000. This will allow WASA C to shift its focus and investments on resizing and extension of water supply network to enable the company to efficiently distribute water to its customers.

We have extended our network for over 200 km in general but the specific one which is a very big achievement that we have done in house is the extension of water network from NZOVE to Mount Kigali where we have constructed one booster pump at an area called Karama on Mount Kigali and a 400 cubic meter tank at mount Kigali. We have already laid pipeline on this part; faze one of this project which is Mount Kigali connecting NZOVE with Nyamirambo Branch network. This is completed. Phase 2 will be to connect Mount Kigali and Remera network which we are also being done internally – this is almost 80% complete, only delayed by the expropriation of few people. So once completed, it’ll be possible transporting water from NZOVE treatment plant to Rebero. We already have a 500 cubic meter tank to be connected. A ring pipeline line will therefore be in place to improve services because water will be transported by gravity to naturally reach everyone in Gikondo and Nyamirambo. This will also reduce the cost of energy used in pumping water. WASA C has already signed a contract with Calighan international; an American company to rehabilitate NZOVE 1 so it can also produce water to its installed capacity. It was supposed to supply 40,000m3 but ended up producing only 25,000m3. So they will do the rehabilitation. First of all they will do the upgrade of the existing one increase production because the existing infrastructure which we have already paid for which we have commissioned has the capacity of 40,000.

So this project has four components; Upgrading NZOVE 2 from 20,000 to 40,000; Rehabilitation of NZOVE 1; Constriction of forwarding infrastructure from NZOVE to Mount Kigali and here we are going to construct a pump station at intake on forwarding infrastructure. The booster pump will be accompanied by 2,000 cubic meter reservoir and the main reservoir will have a capacity of 5,000m3. By July 2016 we’ll have increased production from the current 90,000 to 105,000m3 per day.

Our current water demand in Kigali is 110,000; which means by July, the dry season when everyone is complaining about water, we’ll be having almost 95% of the water demand covered.

Under the same project, in December 2016 we shall have a total capacity of 120,000m3, surpassing the demand.

Business Plan

For WASA C to be able to implement projects which are cost effective and which have value for money, we needed to develop a business plan which caters for all sectors, all departments of the company

Including human resources, projects development, operations management . We now have a business plan which was approved by the board guiding us on how we should invest and future plans.

One of the important things we have undertaken which we think will drive this company in the right direction is capacity building of the staff. We have done all this with the board, senior management and staff.

Capacity Building

The problem of poor water services begins with negligent unmotivated personnel who don’t know what to do.

So we have invested in changing the skills and mindset of staff.

A retaining policy has been established, catering for a number of welfare needs; medical insurance, medical schemes, training opportunities, among others. That is what we’re trying to do. We have a very strong capacity building programme through which we have signed MoU with some of the best utilities in the world.

One of it being Vitense Evidence International from Netherlands, Hamburg waser  which is Hamburg Water from Germany and JICA.  JICA have linked us witha number of utilities in Japan and brought a number of experts who are working alongside our staff. With Vitense International, Netherlands, we have a project here with some of their staff coming here for training purposes and at times WASA C staff train from Netherlands.

Some of WASA C staff haveundertaken masters programmes. There’s also in-house training taking place. We are also working with RIAM to conduct a quality assurance prorgramme for all staff.

All staff from accounts department, billing officers, water recovery officers, marketing, procurement, human resources up to the CEO – are all going through the training. RIAM has developed a very good quality assurance programme to make sure that WASA C personnel are sensitive and aware of the importance of quality in their day to day business.

Performance Improvement Program (PIP)

PIP, with 15 indicators has generated quick wins in corporate objectives to accelerate the transformation of

WASA C into utility that will meet the aspirations of Rwanda WASA C aims to generate a quick win in corporate objectives, enhanced staff capacity and lay a strong foundation for long term performance management. The overall performance over the 90-day period indicates great improvement in all indicators.

The average revenue collection increased by 105% from Rwf902.8 million to Rwf1.8 billion; including collection on water bills, which increased by 78% from Rwf902.8 million to Rwf1.6 billion.

Billing increased from Rwf1.11 billion to Rwf1.26 billion, registering a growth of 14%; while collection efficiency increased from 81% to 130%, with arrears reducing from Rwf5.68 million to Rwf4.7 million.

The cash operating margin improved

by 174% from a deficit of 136 million FRW to 374 million FRW and the nonrevenue water on average reduced by 3.4% from a baseline of 38% to 34.6%.

Financial Management Systems

This includes ERP (Enterprise Resource Programme-Oracle) that will enable WASA C resources to be used in a manner that is sustainable; and migrate from getting quarterly to annual financial statement, interface the billing system with Oracle system because more than 90% of our revenue comes from water sales but currently not interfaced with our billing system in the financial management system. By end of April 2016 we’ll have it interfaced.

Network Upgrade Project

The current Kigali water network is composed of pipelines and systems that are over 40 years old, established to serve about 400,000 people compared to the current 1,000,000 people. This means the systems have lower capacities compared to the exerted pressure that leads to several bursts and non-revenue water. Plans for rehabilitation and expansion are therefore underway