The water supply company PDAM Tirta Moedal Kota Semarang is owned by Kota Semarang, a municipality of 1.8 million people in Central Java Province, Indonesia. It was established in 1990. It serves around 40% of households in the area with piped water. The rest, such as those near coastal areas and low-income peri-urban areas use their own dug/drill wells or rely on small, locally managed systems.
The utility faces technical challenges, particularly regarding extension of water supply coverage, with such a large percentage of the population not served, and in maintaining a high level of water supply service to their existing customers. It also has a high level of non-revenue water (NRW), around 40%. It is guided by a business plan for the period 2018 - 2022, in which NRW reduction and an increase in coverage are set as key goals. A large part of the city is heavily affected by land subsidence, largely caused by excessive groundwater abstraction, which makes the need for piped surface water supply indispensable.
The Water Operator Partnership under the WaterWorX programme between PDAM Tirta Moedal Kota Semarang and Vitens-Evides (VEI) - Dutch Water Operators was initiated in 2019. The overall objective of the partnership is to support PDAM and its stakeholders in breaking the negative cause-and-effect chain of inefficient operations, low supply coverage, forcing the inhabitants of Semarang to use groundwater-based sources that increase the land subsidence problem (and ultimately urban flooding). The cooperation focuses on NRW reduction, training of staff and management and supporting the extension of services to underserved areas. It also provides technical assistance in leadership development, customer satisfaction improvement and planning long-term water resources towards 2050.
WOP progress and successes
The peer-to-peer support between experts of the Dutch water utilities united in VEI and their counterpart colleagues of PDAM Semarang is one of the successes of the program. The peer-to-peer cooperation is at the heart of the Water Operator Partnership (WOP) and integrated in each activity. As an example for NRW reduction two VEI experts on commercial and physical losses respectively cooperate intensively with their counterparts in PDAM Semarang. This resulted in a fully automated commercial dashboard to analyse, prioritize and monitor NRW activities related to commercial losses. And on the side of physical losses reduction, the Dutch experts provided on the job training on active leak detection strategies so PDAM can become more effective in reducing NRW.
Furthermore, the program is implementing a network extension program that will benefit an additional 2,000 households with clean water supply. PDAM is having challenges in reaching more customers, the WOP supports PDAM to improve their services and customer orientation. In this way large scale water infrastructure projects can be better absorbed by the utility and can be of higher benefit to their customers.
WaterWorX (WWX) is a programme that seeks to contribute to ensuring sustainable access to safe drinking water and sanitation to 10 million people in the period 2017-2030. WWX is funded by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign affairs and implemented by 10 Dutch Water companies (represented by the water supply companies VEI, PWN, World Waternet, Dunea and Oasen), in partnership with 37 selected water utilities in 17 countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America.