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WATER SERVICES CUSTOMER

By Jacob Stewart,2014-05-17 00:56
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As part of the overall strategic analysis, a strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT) analysis was completed. All the components from the

    Section 11 Strategic Plan

    STRATEGIC PLAN

    Contents

11.1 AIM ................................................................................................................... 11-2

11.2 OVERALL MACRO ANALYSIS .......................................................................... 11-2

    ? Key activities chart ....................................................................................... 11-2

    ? Water Resources ......................................................................................... 11-3

    ? Water Infrastructure ..................................................................................... 11-3

    ? Environmental .............................................................................................. 11-5

    ? Customer care ............................................................................................. 11-5

    ? Institutional Arrangements ........................................................................... 11-6

    ? Financial Management ................................................................................ 11-7

11.3 CONCLUSIONS ................................................................................................. 11-8

     11-1

    Section 11 Strategic Plan

    11 STRATEGIC PLAN

    11.1 AIM

The aim of the strategic plan is to analyse the implications of the constraints and priorities

    within each of the different chapters. By completing an overall macro analysis of the existing

    situation this will serve as a basis to develop a realistic program.

    11.2 OVERALL MACRO ANALYSIS

As part of the overall strategic analysis, a strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats

    (SWOT) analysis was completed. All the components from the previous chapters were

    analysed and the results are shown below in Table 11.1

Table 11.1 : SWOT Analysis Summary

    INTERNAL EXTERNAL

    STRENGTHS WEAKNESSES OPPORTUNITIES THREATS

    Existing Finance Private participation Non payment of infrastructure/assets services Available water Cost recovery Prepayment of Reduced public resources services expenditure Umtata Municipality Sustainability Large undeveloped Informal settlements

    consumer base

    Existing business Environmental record Informal settlements Backlog of unpaid planning services

     Supporting services-

    electricity

     Poor customer

    services

     Current water

    demand

    management

     Loss of treated water

     Financial water

    balancing

The overall gaps and constraints shown in the SWOT analysis have been linked to the

    summary of key activities given at the start of each section. The Overall summary of key

    activities is given in the Key activities chart overleaf.

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    Section 11 Strategic Plan

    The key activities contains the proposed time frame for the main activities from the outcome of

    the SWOT analysis.

The main gaps and constraints from the overall analysis are summarised in the sections below.

Water Resources

Presently no formal agreements exist between the Department of Water Affairs and Forestry

    and the main users of the Umtata dam. Therefore the legal issues of allocation and use of the

    water resources within the Umtata Peri-urban area of Department of Water Affairs and

    Forestry need to be addressed.

Formal agreements and contracts are required on the following issues:

    ? Water allocation and unit cost from the Department of Water Affairs and Forestry owned

    Umtata Dam to the Umtata Municipality owned Thornhill water treatment works ? Water allocation and unit cost from the Department of Water Affairs and Forestry owned

    Mabeleni Dam and Corana Dam to the Kei District Council owned Umtata Peri-urban

    bulk water supply schemes

    ? Water allocation and unit cost from the Department of Water Affairs and Forestry owned

    Umtata Dam to the Eskom Hydropower stations on the Mtata River

Water Infrastructure

Planning of Water Services to future households

    The primary goal for the Thornhill Water Treatment Works is the provision of potable water to an increasing water services customer base. Specifically, the provision of water to the peri-urban areas of Umtata has provided a future challenge.

The initial planning and design to meet this goal was undertaken in the above mentioned

    reports. The implementation of the given recommendations is currently underway. No

    further works are therefore required in the 5-year planning period associated with this plan.

    It is, however, envisaged that the expansion of the peri-urban areas of Umtata will continue as will the demand for potable water. To enable the servicing of this demand in a

    progressive and cost effective manner the forecasting of the projected demands is required.

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    Section 11 Strategic Plan

    Utilisation of telemetry and monitoring bulk flows

    In order that effective medium to long term planning may be undertaken it is identified that the projections made in the referenced reports require to be verified with up-dated water demand data.

    A comprehensive database of information is required to allow accurate forecasting and therefore planning.

    Comment is made in the referenced reports that water consumption cannot be directly related to population growth. The projected water consumption must therefore be extrapolated from existing data. However, the last record of bulk flows pumped from the Thornhill Water Treatment Works was made in 1993. A substantial gap in data therefore exists.

    It is therefore identified that the bulk metering of both the pumped and gravitated flows is a key activity for the City Engineer’s Department.

    The metering of the bulk supply is an important tool in Water Demand Management. It will however require correlation with the metered unit supplies within the city to allow efficient management of the water supply system. Therefore, with the necessary infrastructure in place, the following actions are identified:

? Continued metering of bulk supply

    ? On-going metering of unit supply

    ? Cross referencing all available metering data-bases

    ? Regular projection of future demands based on existing demands.

    The undertaking of the above activities will allow accurate planning of the City’s infrastructure to meet the expected population growth and commercial and residential development.

    In tandem with the above task an accurate assessment of the capacity of the existing infrastructure is required. To facilitate this assessment the modelling of the Umtata’s water supply network is considered a valuable planning exercise. This is particularly necessary in regard to the Central Business District and the provision of the necessary fire flows.

Formalisation of illegal settlements

    The provision of water-borne sewerage to all formal settlements within Umtata is a goal that will be achieved on attaining the necessary funding within the financial year 1999/2000. This is line with the visions included within this plan.

    It is in the areas of illegal settlements that concern over the current levels of sanitation exists. The illegal nature of the settlement is presently preventing any consideration of servicing those areas. Only on attainment of a political and legal solution will the City Engineer’s Department undertake the necessary works to service these areas. A key activity is the continued pressure on the City Council to undertake the resolution of this matter.

Environmental

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    Section 11 Strategic Plan

Undertake rehabilitation of Umtata River

    Within the situation assessment it is identified that a main environmental issue affecting Umtata’s Water Services is the pollution of the Mtata River. At the time of this report no information is available to review the extent of this problem. This issue is considered a priority for the City of Umtata. The ultimate goal is for the rehabilitation of the river. It is therefore considered that a study of the current status quo in the river be investigated and actions for the rehabilitation of the river identified.

Attain funding for northern outfall sewer upgrade

    It was identified that the main source of pollution is effluent overflowing from the sewage treatment works and pump station B of the northern outfall sewer. The negation of both these sources was covered in business plans referenced in the “Water Infrastructure”

    component. At the time of drafting this report financing was being sought for the implementation of the upgrade of the sewage treatment works and the construction of the northern outfall sewer.

Undertake surface run-off pollution study

The City Engineer’s Department identifies that surface run-off pollution within the town is at

    an unacceptable level. Currently funding mechanisms are being examined by the City Engineers Department to carry out a pollution study of the area. At present no form of study of the level of pollution or its impact has been carried out. In order that Umtata protects its water resources a study of this nature is required.

Customer Care

Payment system

    Billings are done on a monthly basis. The problems experienced in this process are being addressed and the following proposals are being implemented or considered:

? Rotate meter reading staff employed in 3 months cycles

    ? Set strict deadlines for meter readers

    ? Consider outsourcing the meter reading component

    ? Print statements per area

    ? Review the billing system for any errors in calculating and allocating charges.

Customer relations

    Based on the findings from interviews within Umtata Municipality and customers the following recommendations have been made:

    ? Create a payments hall with enhanced enquiry/ complaints department ? Establish direct customer care telephone lines

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    Section 11 Strategic Plan

    ? Implement a system for referral of complaints to the relevant Departments and ensuring

    that all complaints are answered.

    ? Introduce a system to cut out long queues or alternatively the introduction of local

    payment offices in the main suburbs.

    ? Introduce a system to motivate people to pay accounts

Meter Reading

    ? Introduce key performance index for meter readers and/or an incentive system for meter

    readers.

Accounts

    ? Introduce key performance index for accurate and timely accounts to be sent out each

    month.

    ? Councillors and officials to visit one specific area of town once a month and walk through

    the area and talk to residents about problems, issues, service delivery etc.

    Introduce an incentive system to motivate people to pay by setting key performance index per key areas for payments of invoices on time. Each area to receive points for bills paid in the area. The points will be linked to Reconstruction Development Programme Rands, which will enable each community to pay for a specific community need i.e. community hall. Thus, the more and more regular people pay, the more their community will be upgraded enabling a reward for their co-operation

Education and healthcare

    There are no current programmes in place to make sure that consumers do conserve water. Water conservation is therefore placed on the customers who often are not knowledgeable of the process involved in how water is provided and especially the reasons why water should be conserved. To address this problem an awareness programme is required for customer education and health and hygiene. Initially the issues could be addressed by producing an easy to read pamphlet explaining the awareness programme. Other measures would include educational programmes at schools and advertising.

Institutional Arrangements

Organisational structures and capacity

    At the time of drafting this report the capacity of the Umtata Municipality was considered sufficient to react to demands of the existing status quo. The City Engineer Department has identified a number of posts required for the 1999/2000 financial year.

    However, further capacity to facilitate the requirements of a Water Service Authority and Water Service Provider in terms of the Water Service Act may be necessary. Identification and prioritisation of this need may be taken from an integrated assessment of the key activities included within this plan.

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    Section 11 Strategic Plan

    It is required by the Water Services Act that within each district/locality that the relevant bodies assume the required responsibilities. Within the city bounds the Umtata Municipality is able to fulfil the necessary roles.

    However, in the peri-urban area there is doubt whether the Kei District Council has sufficient capacity to undertake the responsibilities associated with a Water Services Authority. It is therefore necessary that a strategy for reallocation of this role be investigated. On finalisation of this matter contractual agreements will be required between the Water Services Authority and the Umtata Municipality as the Water Services Provider for the peri-urban areas. Included with this contract must be clear definition of the physical extent of each party’s responsibilities

Infrastructure

    The ownership of the bulk feeder lines between the Mtata Dam and the Thornhill WTW is currently an unresolved issue. It is envisaged that in line with Department of Water Affairs and Forestry’s current policy that this infrastructure will be transferred to the appropriate local

    authority. Although outside of Umtata’s boundaries it is considered prudent that the Umtata Municipality undertake the necessary responsibilities in this regard.

    The ownership and thus the operation and maintenance of the infrastructure associated with the Umtata Peri-urban scheme is a further issue requiring resolution. This will be dependent on the institutional arrangements that develop with regard to the Water Service Authority in the Kei District area.

Financial Management

Operating costs

    At present the operational management of Water Services is undertaken by the City Engineer’s Department whilst Treasury undertake the responsibilities of financial management. Due to differing priorities within each department the effective management of water services is hampered. It is considered that the associated financial operations must be isolated from the remainder of Treasury’s business. In addition a management team comprising of both parties is required to facilitate the strategic direction of water services to meet its future challenges.

Capital financing

    An indisputable fact is the need for capital investment into Umtata. The urgent needs of Umtata’s water services are highlighted throughout this plan.

    From the current status quo, the necessary investment cannot come from within the Umtata City Council. This is compounded by the fact that, at present, money earned through the provision of water services is currently being re-allocated to wider priorities.

    In terms of providing a sustainable service, it cannot be expected that provisional or central government will provide the necessary investment. It is therefore necessary to consider the

     11-7

    Section 11 Strategic Plan

    alternatives available. The city engineer’s department has already taken a number of steps

    in this direction. Specifically in exploring the possibility of a private public partnership. A grant form the Municipal Infrastructure Investment Programme has been secured to facilitate the strategic evaluation of such a partnership. It is expected that the process will begin within August of 1999.

Customer Management

    The city engineer’s department has an established policy, which requires the installation of a water meter at every new water connection. It is therefore considered that the deficit in billing is not due to a lack of metered connections, but rather, the management and co-ordination of meter reading, the maintenance of meters and the current quality of the customer data-base.

In response to the above challenges the City Engineer’s Department has undertaken a door

    to door water meter audit. This is reported as 80% complete. It is the vision that this information be transferred to an integrated customer data-base. A single source of information will then exist for all aspects associated with the water service customer. The range of information will include the age of the specific water meter to current financial status of the customer’s account.

Financial Management

    An important part of the financial management is analysing a financial water balance model. Data has been collected from the City Engineer’s Department on the volume of water treated and consumed within Umtata TLC. Unfortunately, the most recent data available is from 1993. The average volume of water treated daily at the Thornhill treatment works in 1993 was 30.98 Ml/d. It is estimated that the current water treated at the time of this report is 37Ml/d. In the financial year 1998/1999 the average volume billed per day was 18.78 Ml/d.

    It has been noted that since the vigorous billing policy and disconnections was adopted there has been a decrease in the volume of water consumed. This is a positive trend that will develop as customers begin to associate a tangible value to water services.

    However the current situation indicate that a significant volume of water is not being billed. Estimating water losses conservatively at 15 %, 12.75 ML of water remain unbilled each day. This represents a potential income of R 1,326,500 per month.

    There is a need for accurate metering is required. This holds for both bulk and household flows. Taking this information, unsustainable areas may be identified and appropriate action taken. In effect demand management may take place.

Asset Management

    Water services is a business whose asset base is large in comparison to its turnover. The management of the assets is therefore critical to the business’ sustainability. It is recommended that an asset management programme be embarked upon. This will involve the following.

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    Section 11 Strategic Plan

    ? Serviceability Assessment. The assessment of underground utilities may be

    undertaken by statistical means. However, physical inspection of the above ground

    facilities may be carried out.

    ? Demand Forecasting. The demands experienced have a direct impact on the servicing

    and replacement of any given unit. Demand forecasting is therefore required to plan the

    necessary capital expenditure.

    ? Analysing Compliance. This is necessary as units may require up-grading to meet with

    the necessary water quality/effluent standards.

    ? Estimating Costs. By recording construction costs the city may build up a accurate

    data-base for projecting future expenditure.

    11.3 CONCLUSIONS

The integrated overall macro analysis shows the main priorities that need to be achieved and

    form the basis of a realistic water services development plan.

A software copy of all the chapters (MS Word 6.0) and Key Activities (MS Project 98) used in

    this report are included on a 3.5”” diskette attached to this report. This will enable the

    Umtata 5 year Water Services Development Plan to be updated by Umtata Municipality and

    Department of Water Affairs and Forestry as the needs and priorities for each component

    alter each year.

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