Water and wastewater companies are constantly challenged to deliver reliable, high quality, affordable, and sustainable services to their customers. The needs are becoming increasingly demanding (e.g. more stringent regulation), which mean utilities strive to do more with less, increase transparency, sustainability and creditworthiness.

The AquaRating system was designed to support utilities to overcome these challenges by helping them becoming more transparent and attractive for investment. At the same time, their investment needs are clearer, and design and implementation of performance improvement plans becomes more effective. This brings better services delivery, more sustainability and satisfaction of customers, regulators, governments and investors.

AquaRating is an international standard that enables water and sanitation operators to focus on the quality of the service they are providing. As a standard, AquaRating sets the baseline for utilities to monitor their performance and plan for improvements. Jointly developed by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and the International Water Association (IWA), AquaRating offers a comprehensive, impartial and credible evaluation of the utilities’ performance and best management practices, based on three dimensions: (i) performance indicators; (ii) best practices; and (iii) reliability of information. The assessment system gives a detailed evaluation of 112 elements across eight key areas and validates information through an independent auditing process, enhancing accountability and transparency.

There are currently 91 utilities worldwide using the AquaRating system to measure performance and establish reliable baselines. Evaluation results are then used to develop and execute performance improvement plans by the individual utilities. The IDB and IWA can already identify more than 900 professionals worldwide who are part of the performance improvement process of water and wastewater utilities.

Changing utility operations and management is a difficult job: it requires strong commitment from the staff, a new mind-set in the company, and often significant financial investments. After overcoming these challenges, it is important to keep track of results, measure improvements or whether the utility is reaching the established goals. IWA has set up a Community of Practice for utilities to exchange experiences with other professionals going through the same processes, learn with them and share knowledge.

Brenda Ampomah-Ankrah
Strategic Programmes Officer (Consultant) - Strategic Programmes & Engagement brenda.ampomah [a]