Australian and Indonesian water utilities collaborate in new twinning initiative

The Australia-Indonesia Water Utility Improvement Program (WUIP) commenced in November 2018 with support from the Australian Water Partnership (AWP).

The Australian Water Association (AWA)-led program is designed to transfer management expertise, technology, and personnel between three Australian water utilities and three Indonesian water utilities (PDAMs) to improve water quality and reliability, operational efficiency and financial sustainability.

In Indonesia, many ageing water supply systems are struggling to cope with the rapid increase in demand due to population growth and development. Currently, 371 PDAMs serve 11 million customers, which is equivalent to approximately 32 percent of the urban population.

The necessary expansion of water and wastewater management facilities in Indonesia is placing new requirements on skills for business planning, finance and contract management, as well as technical skills essential for operation and maintenance of new and existing facilities. The Australia-Indonesia WUIP will specifically assist with knowledge-sharing and capacity-building of individuals and organisations to respond to these needs.

The two-year program builds on the highly successful Australia-Vietnam Water Utility Improvement Program, which has been running since 2016 and fostered five successful, mutually-beneficial partnerships between water utilities in Australia and Vietnam.

The Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) Indonesia has recently invested in Indonesia’s Performance Based Water Hibah Program that seeks to improve governance, accountability and financial autonomy of Indonesian PDAMs.  The WUIP is designed to align with this program by supporting PDAMs to meet the key performance indicators needed to qualify for Water Hibah water infrastructure grants.

AWA and other Project Partners are establishing suitable governance arrangements including a Steering Committee, Technical Working Group, Monitoring and Evaluation Framework and reporting mechanisms for the WUIP. They are also working with DFAT Indonesia and the Water Hibah Managing Contractor on a process for selecting the most appropriate Indonesian PDAMs to participate in the program and matching them to Australian water utilities.

Unique Water Utility Improvement Action Plans will then be developed and implemented, incorporating the valuable lessons learnt from the current Australia-Vietnam WUIP and its participants.

Photo: Adobe Stock / allanedgarpoe
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