28 January 2022 / Vienna, Austria
Back to the Future: Utility Benchmarking Program Coordinators Meet to Kick Off the Year
Contributed by:
Voice of the Danube
28 January 2022

On 26 January, coordinators of the Utility Benchmarking Program Hubs met in the virtual space to coordinate an ambitious 2022 work program. Rising energy costs add extra urgency to everything that helps utilities to gain insight regarding their performance and cost structure.

Benchmarking is a major tool to improve water utility performance and faced with rising energy costs, a slow pandemic recovery and fast approaching infrastructure investment needs, utilities everywhere in the Danube region need to know their data inside out because that is the key to all the necessary performance and efficiency improvements.

The Utility Benchmarking Program (UBP) operated under the Danube Learning Partnership (D-LeaP) assists utilities in the systematic collecting and comparing performance indicators as well as comparing them among utilities of similar sizes and regulatory environments.

This program offers a solid basis on which utilities can identify their capacity building needs and has succeeded in building an ever-growing network of utilities that jointly work on continuously improving their services. As of writing, four national/subregional Hubs are active in the region, focusing on utilities in Kosovo & Albania, Bulgaria, Ukraine and the Danube region (Danube Hub operated by IAWD).

Participating utilities receive individual company reports with performance comparisons against other utilities in the group. Subsequent workshops foster the ongoing exchange of know-how and best practices.

Having successfully kept this program running under the most adverse pandemic condition in 2020 and 2021, the UBP Hub coordinators are expecting a hopefully normalized work environment with little obstacles for their ambition work program. Final fine tuning happened during a coordination meeting on 26 January that treated the UBP delivery in 2022 in full detail, the promotion and recruitment efforts for the 2022 cycle, and planning for the upcoming events, especially the Danube Hub workshop that will, provided nothing untoward happens, take place in Albania in June.

Let us hope for a normal year that gives us all the breathing space to build a productive future on today's data. We really, really need it.