Monday, September 27, 2010

Water – essence of and for life!

Five things I learned at the Global Water Summit
Published 29th April 2010

1. There is no such thing as economic water scarcity, only political water scarcity. Ek Sonn Chan told the story of how the Phnom Penh Water Supply Authority had been transformed between 1993 and 2009. The number of connections increased seven-fold, non-revenue water fell from 73% to 6%, collection efficiency rose from 48% to 99.9%, and total revenues increased from $300,000 to $25 million, with an $8 million operating surplus. After receiving initial grants and soft loans from international financial institutions, the utility is now self-financing. Tariffs increased steeply in the early years, but they have been held constant at around $0.24/m3 since 2001, because the combination of service expansion, reduced water losses and high collection rates has guaranteed a sufficient cashflow for debt repayment as well as capital expenditure. It is a great story that should be reproduced across the developing world – if politicians allow it to happen.

2. The oil companies are waking up to water. Joppe Cramwinckel of Shell explained that his company is one of the largest producers of
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