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Indonesia’s PDAMs Seek To Change the Tide

 The Indonesia Water Club is launched May 2008

Leaders in water management met May 2008 to discuss strategies for dealing with Indonesia's most pressing water-related challenges.

In Indonesia, the need for clean, accessible water far exceeds what is currently available. Nearly 65% of the population provides their own water, many through unsafe sources, because they do not have access. Less than 2% of urban households are connected to a sewage system. Urbanization, meanwhile, is increasing at a rate of 3.5% per year.

To achieve the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) for water accessby 2015, Indonesia must add 2 million piped water connections to households every year between now and then.

The largest deterrent to meeting this goal is the water sector's significant debt burden of nearly US$300 million, which deters investors. However, an additional investment of US$450 million, tenfold the amount currently invested, is needed to meet the MDG target of reducing the amount of people who do not have sustainable access to safe drinking water by half.

Under such formidable obstacles, it would be easy for Indonesia's government and water utilities to lose hope for advancement and betterment for their people. Instead, they have embraced their role as Champions for Change.

In 2004, the Government of Indonesia, with the assistance of the Netherlands Government and the World Bank, formed the Indonesia Water and Sanitation Assistance Program (WASAP) to improve access to water and sanitation through domestic, productive, and integrated water management.

"Water Club Indonesia," a Coalition for Change

To further these ideals, representatives of the Government of Indonesia, the World Bank Institute's water management team, national and local water utilities, and the Indonesian Drinking Water Association (PERPAMSI) met at a forum this May to launch WASAP-B, a sub-program of WASAP.

It's focus is on providing in-depth transformational assistance to those state-owned (PDAMs) and local government water utilities (PEMDAs) that demonstrate leadership in providing water services to citizens, including the urban poor, in a way that promotes operational efficiency and financial sustainability.

 All 18 of the Indonesian PDAM's signed the water charter.

All of the state-owned utilities present at the leadership forum agreed to join Indonesia's first "Club of Water Champions for Change."

During the forum, the leaders were encouraged to take advantage of the increased access to capacity development guidance by joining the Club of Water Champions for Change, as the new program has been dubbed.

Building on existing capacity in critical areas, such as asset management, non-revenue water reduction, and corporatization, WASAP-B will guide these PDAMs and PEMDAs to become leaders in water services delivery.

Of the 18 PDAMs invited to become members of the Club, all chose to join, and as such will receive benefits such as:

  • How-to guidance, which grants on-demand expert support for corporate and financial planning (dealing with debt management and recovery, tariff adjustment), business processes re-engineering, corporate culture, and competence-based human resources management.
  • Facilitating transformation which includes support for executive PDAMs and PEMDAs leaders in negotiations; creation and implementation of incentive systems for staff and customers; constructing institutional and legal deals (customizing) in corporatization; communicating changes on tariffs, and more.
  • Customer satisfaction surveys, to assist in collecting base-line data, frequent monitoring, and use of data and information for dialogues between water utility companies and the public, including design and facilitation of communications with the public.
  • Knowledge sharing, learning, and networking, which includes providing leadership to communicate among wider groups of PDAMs and PEMDAs, identifying opportunities for internships at successful water utilities in Indonesia and abroad, building critical masses of staff with specific competence areas, and providing technical training to improve staff knowledge, skills, and attitudes.

In addition, the WASAP-B will strengthen the PERPAMSI's capacity to better serve the learning, knowledge and information sharing, benchmarking and advocacy functions with a specific focus on its facilitating role in achieving the Club’s mission.

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