On 9 May 2018, within the International Water Association’s Water Loss Conference in Cape Town, South Africa, the winners of the Dreampipe Challenge were announced during a gala dinner attended by over 400 delegates, from both public and private sector.
The Dreampipe Challenge is an innovation prize competition run by Ideas to Impact, a programme implemented by IMC Worldwide and funded by UK Aid delivered by the UK Department for International Development (DFID). Its aim is to stimulate creative solutions across climate change adaptation, access to energy and water, sanitation and hygiene, in developing countries.
Launched in 2016, the goal of the Dreampipe Challenge is to encourage solutions to the issue of non-revenue water (NRW), which is the difference between water supplied by utilities and water billed to customers. NRW is a major development challenge in low-income countries, which already face water scarcity, rapid urbanisation and growing population.
The Dreampipe Challenge aims to reduce NRW by catalysing at least half of the investments required from ‘unusual’ sources, such as commercial banks, as opposed to development finance, in order to find a sustainable long-term fix to the issue.
‘The Dreampipe competition has focused attention on the way relatively small interventions to reduce non-revenue water can bring substantial financial gains to water utilities – in addition to yielding economic and social benefits. It has also highlighted the challenges many utilities in developing countries face in mobilising needed funds and in implementing coherent and sustained strategies for tackling the problem.’
- Chris Shugart, Dreampipe Challenge Technical Lead
The Dreampipe Challenge’s winners of Phase II have successfully delivered small pilot projects, which they have self-financed, based on business plans developed during the competition’s first phase. These initiatives have either tackled water physical losses, such as leaking pipes, or commercial losses, such as meter inaccuracies and illegal connections, or both.
WRP, South Africa
WRP is an engineering consultancy of international standing in the fields of water resources engineering, water conservation and water demand management, including NRW reduction. They won the first place prize of £70,000 for their work with the city of Tshwane, funded largely by South African Breweries.
They implemented their demonstration project in an area with 51,000 water connections. The intervention focused on night flow analysis, pressure optimisation, pump management, leak detection and substitution of local groundwater for more costly purchased bulk water.
Leak repairs reduced the network water supply requirements by 15%, which is the equivalent of about 200,000 cubic metres per month. Most of this had previously been NRW.
‘We have enjoyed working on our submission for the Dreampipe Award as it has encouraged us to structure our project in a systematic and pragmatic manner which adds great value to the project. The award also encourages the participants to develop funding models that can be replicated elsewhere and this will hopefully have a meaningful impact on funding of future non-revenue water reduction projects.’
- Ronnie Mckenzie, Managing Director, WRP
Nkana Water and Sewerage Company (NWSC), Zambia
NWSC won the second prize of £50,000 for implementing a demonstration project in Mukuba Natwange, an area with 1,100 water connections located in Kitwe town, Zambia.
Their approach consisted of the setup of a district metered zone equipped with bulk meters, a baseline survey and database cleanup, replacement of leaking distribution mains and community mobilisation. Customer metering was increased from 75% to 98%.
Weircapacity is an infrastructure and management consultancy with expertise in advisory services for water, environment and infrastructure. They won £30,000 for the project that they implemented in Kaduna, northern Nigeria, in an area with 450 water connections. They worked with the Kaduna State Water Corporation (KADSWAC), one of the 37 urban water utilities in the north of the country.
The intervention involved a thorough mapping of the network, installation of bulk meters and a detailed customer survey. Additionally, preliminary discussions have already been held with commercial banks about the financing of an expansion project.
National Water and Sewerage Corporation (NWSC), Uganda
NWSC won £30,000 for its project in Kyaliwajjala Branch, one of the 24 administrative units in the Kampala Water supply service area.
The project, which was delivered in an area with 16,000 water connections, involved a comprehensive set of measures to tackle both physical and commercial losses. A sharp focus was on the laying of new water mains, proactive leak detection and repair, meter testing and repair, improved customer knowledge and detection of illegal connections.
‘The Dreampipe Challenge has done a great job in promoting a holistic view of NRW, including engineering, technological solutions, and economics. We’re pleased to see that many utilities have risen to the challenge, and started addressing these issues.’
- Froeydis Gording, Prize Manager
For further information, please direct your enquiries to the Dreampipe Challenge team at firstname.lastname@example.org