The Yaounde Statement: AfWA Makes Recommendations for Non-Revenue Water (NRW) Management

The Cameroon Water Utilities Corporation (CAMWATER) organized an international Symposium jointly with the African Water Association (AfWA) and some partners, including LACROIX Sofrel, Technolog SA, Liason, etc. This event took place from January 26 to 27, 2023, in Yaoundé, Cameroon, under the theme: “Financial Viability of Water Utilities in Africa: Control of Commercial Losses and Fraud on the Drinking Water Distribution Network”.

The aim was to boost the financial performance of water utilities, through the control of commercial losses and fraud on the drinking water distribution networks of water utilities. Specifically, it was intended to provide an overview of the specific challenges faced by some water utilitites, to share some success stories, including technical and technological solutions to control losses, and to exchange with financial partners on financing options to stem these losses.

The following participants attended this event : General, Commercial, Technical and Financial Directors, Directors of Planning and Operation of water utilities in Central Africa, West Africa and East Africa, especially the Cameroon Water Utilities Corporation (CAMWATER, Cameroon), the Chadian Water Company (STE, Chad), the Water Distribution Company of Côte d’Ivoire (SODECI, Côte d’Ivoire), Ghana Water Company Limited (GWCL, Ghana), National Water & Sewerage Corporation (NWSC, Uganda), Lilongwe Water Board (LWB, Malawi). Some municipalities and institutions such as the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), ministerial departments and other WASH stakeholders were also represented.

After two days of discussions with the sharing of practical experiences on the theme of the Symposium, some recommendations were formulated and organized into a Statement. Thus, the Yaounde Statement on Non-Revenue Water (NRW) identifies some lines of actions to help fight against water fraud and water losses through the use of technical tools, capacity building, financing and adoption of a regulatory framework and appropriate policies. This Statement was presented to the Cameroon Minister of Water & Energy, at the close of the Symposium.

The contextual adaptation of the suggested solutions and their implementation within the water utilities might contribute to resource preservation, improved revenues and prepare the way for financing the extension of services for the benefit of populations, including the most vulnerable segments.

For record, this Symposium was set a day after the final workshop for restructuring the Scientific and Technical Council (STC) of the African Water and Sanitation Association (AfWASA), still in Yaoundé, Cameroon, from 24 to 25 January 2023, and hosted by the Managing Director of CAMWATER, AfWASA Vice-President for Central Africa.

Download the Yaounde Statement here.

Share Water No. 13

The thirteenth issue of the African Water Association (AfWA) technical and bilingual magazine, Share Water, is now available. It provides solutions in terms of guidelines and tools likely to help manage the WASH businesses efficiently and mitigate the shortage of water supply, for improved access to sustainable water and sanitation services for all in Africa.

Among these solutions, the water safety plan (WSP) approach is widely recognized as the most reliable and effective way to consistently manage drinking-water supplies to safeguard public health. Since the introduction of WSPs in the third edition of the WHO Guidelines for Drinking water Quality (GDWQ) and the International Water Association (IWA) Bonn Charter for Safe Drinking Water in 2004, a significant number of water suppliers have implemented WSPs, and many governments are actively promoting their implementation and/or inclusion in national legislation.

Some benefits of WSP implementation include the promotion of public health by continuously assuring safer drinking-water for consumers, the setting up of a proactive (rather than reactive) framework for managing drinking water quality, the early identification of new/increased risks-incidents, the in-depth systematic evaluation of water systems, and much more…


A Non-Intrusive Technology for Network Performance Control

The ultrasonic flowmeter is a tool for network performance control and preventive maintenance in handheld and fixed station. The principle of operation is the set of two (02) sensors on the same side of the pipe with sending of a wave on the side, which is reflected on the pipe that arrives on the second sensor. The 2nd sensor does the same thing and sends a signal which will be recovered by the other sensor. Depending on the direction of the flow rate and the speed, a difference in travelling time will be noted, which allows to measure the speed. As it applies to any measuring tool, the external diameter of the pipe or the wall thickness and the nature of the material should be set up.

The advantage of the ultrasonic flowmeter lies in its non-intrusive technology. It adapts itself to the environment and places itself on the pipe, without the need to take over the pipe or cut it. Moreover, it is not necessary to carry out important works for the setting up of the flowmeter. Its sensors allow it to adapt to different types of pipes, as they adjust to the pipe and can be installed on all types of networks, mainly in metal, non-metal network, PVC, PE, concrete, cement, asbestos, etc., ranging from 25 to 4700 in diameter.

The measurement is bi-directional and without loss of load because there is no contact with water. Sensors can be placed in different locations and require little space depending on the diameter and the nature of the material. The spacing between the sensors does not have to be very large.

The handheld tool is a small object that can be held in the hand, depending on the manufacturer and the pair of sensors, with a system that allows sensors to be tied to the pipe.

The fields of application are quite diverse. The ultrasonic flowmeter allows to control the performance of networks, in addition to or as an alternative to fixed sectorization, which is quite developed in the world. The performance of a drinking water network is controlled by measuring its flow rate, especially the night flow rate. The sectorization allows to identify the leaking sectors and to prioritize the research areas on which to carry out priority actions of leakage research, frauds, and network renewal, etc.

The watertight valves allow further reduction of the sectors through valve operations, changes in hydraulic sectors during the night, over several days or instantaneously depending on the research zones. They also allow to quantify the losses on the night flows rate, and then to carry out a ratio of the losses to check the performance of the network in the concerned areas to initiate or not corrective actions. They are further used to check the sectorization in place, especially the large meters and flowmeters that are already in fixed stations, which is a strategic focus for operators of water networks. The control is performed upon insertion, thanks to the presence of a fixed sensor that needs to be handled using an ultrasonic flowmeter, which can be an electromagnetic flowmeter, a mechanical meter, etc.

Some customers use it to check the large meters of big consumers before they validate the metering, given the financial impact of under-metering on large consumers. Data from the checking of fixed sectorization meters is used for the analysis of good or bad operation of a network. Failure to measure from the fixed meter has an impact on the operation and performance of networks. To check the pump flow rates, it is necessary to set the sensors on the pipes at the pump outlet and validate the nominal flow rate of the pump, i.e., identify if the pump is operating properly or if there is a need for maintenance.

It can be used upstream of works when defining the profiles of consumption, of distribution, of a suppressor, or the profile for the renewal of pipes. It is possible to set the device over several days to record the minimum, maximum and average flow rates, which will allow the correct dimensioning of works, i.e., avoiding having pipes or conduits that are too large or too small and using a suppressor adapted to the area.

Some images in the presentation below show the successive launch of four pumps to reach the desired flow rate in the drawdown to make the controls, and different examples of implementation. In the first example, the fixed insertion probe sends its data through a remote transmission system to the customer’s supervision software. The customer’s leak detection team had performed three unsuccessful researches for 20m3 of leaks in a specific area. Back to the starting point, there was a 20m3 difference between the handheld ultrasonic flowmeter that was set up and the insertion probe. The drift of insertion probe that occurred, resulted in a miscalculation of a measurement point and consequently a loss of operation due to the time spent to look for leaks where there were none.

Regarding the comparison with electromagnetic flowmeters, the connection with the flowmeter in place can sometimes run smoothly, but we can also observe electromagnetic interference defects on the electromagnetic meter that lead to a metering defect and a corrective action by the customer. In one of the cases encountered, one of the electromagnetic meters had got a large leakage rate, and the doubt of leakage was persisting. In fact, there was a 4 to 5 cubic meter difference that made it impossible to find the location of the leak, as the customer could not find their way around. The laying of an ultrasonic flowmeter allowed to detect the problem quickly. Example 2 (see presentation) is a DN300 stainless steel pipe on site where a pump flow rate had to be checked. The more the pipe will be larger, the greater will be the spacing between sensors. In case of no fixed flowmeter, it is possible to use the handheld ultrasonic flowmeter as a starting point to carry out checking for leaks, fraud and validate the proper functioning of a network. As a reminder, the minimum flowmeter is connected to the existing network.

That handheld measurement tool can be used by different departments: the distribution, performance and network department can be interested in leakage research feature, flow rate measurement feature and linear loss index ratio; production and maintenance department can use it to validate pump flows rate amongst other items that leaves the factory; metrology and metering department for the checking of fixed station meters; engineering offices and works department for the realization of hydraulic profit before works (e.g. modification of pipes, suppressors…) and quality department to validate performance of the network, etc.

Framework for the use of fixed ultrasonic flowmeter may varied. The handheld tool is multi-service and adapts itself to the environment. The use of fixed station is more restrictive, given the need to be tied to a point. Sensors are the same for handholding and fixed station. The difference lies in the unit, which will be fixed and close to the pair of sensors for the recovery of data from sensors and communication link with the remote transmission system for retransmission to a supervision software. The interest is obvious when it comes to large diameters of minimum DM400. Under that size, it is possible to use a fixed station to handle a fragile pipe, that one does not want to touch (the interest here lies in the non-intrusive side and the absence of important works for laying the equipment). However, it is suitable to be rigorous on the straight lengths to be respected for a better long-term precision.

The ultrasonic flowmeter is used for both drinking water and wastewater because the flow rates of condensate pumps are also checked by sanitation departments. The checking of flow rate pressure pumps with fixed station is also carried out for wastewater. To achieve the accuracy of wastewater measurement with the ultrasonic flowmeter, the pipe must be full. Sensors can be buried and immersed for a long time at fixed points. Pumps with inverters allow flow rate measurements to be tested even when water is loaded.

SEWERIN is a German manufacturer of equipment for improving the performance of water systems, mainly water leakage detection and Non-Revenue Water (NRW) improvement.


Smart Water Management by Xylem’s Digital Solutions

The 90th meetings of the African Water Association (AfWA) Scientific & Technical Council (STC) were held in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire from November 21 to 24, 2022, under the theme “Innovative Systems, Approaches and Tools to Accelerate Access to Sustainable Water and Sanitation Services for All”. A series of three technical conferences were given during STC Day 1, including one on Smart Water Management by Mr. Samba GUINDO, Regional Sales Manager – West Africa at XYLEM Côte d’Ivoire.

XYLEM is a manufacturer and supplier of innovative technologies in the water sector i.e. pumping systems (multistage, self- priming, end suction…), aeration equipment, flow meter, smart meter, etc.

Xylem’s Digital Solutions help customers gain capabilities in three key areas across their network.

  • Increase the ability to visualize the utilities’ entire water system by providing enterprise-level network transparency to justify expenditures, and prepare for challenges before they become failures;
  • Optimize that system with deeper insights and actionable, data-informed recommendations to improve their systems in real-time, and make better use of inputs and personnel;
  • And deliver greater asset reliance and resiliency, and increasing safety for the community and your people

Xylem digital ecosystem creates an information-centric and connected environment. As the workforce is connected to each other ,they are now connected to physical assets and the environment. Networks of sensors installed through supply, collection, treatment and distribution operations will monitor conditions in real time. Data and information will available via the cloud and hand-held devices anywhere, anytime. Beyond instantaneous process control, big data analytics provides the unique opportunity to explore Decision Intelligence. There are four major technological elements to Industry 4.0: i) Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), ii) Cloud Computing and Edge Computing, iii) Big Data Analytics and iv) Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning.

Xylem’s digital solutions fall under big Data Analytics and artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning. Machine learning enables systems to take prescriptive actions based on data-driven predictions. Automation has already replaced routine, manual tasks with higher value. Machine learning and artificial intelligence enable decisions and actions to be taken preemptively in response to changing conditions.

In-situ IIOT devices with edge computing will detect, control and provide visibility on events i.e. level rises, pressure changes, changing water quality and wastewater loading, loss of flow, off-spec effluents, etc.

Six takeaways identified by the All Systems Go Africa symposium for accelerating progress in the WASH Agenda across the African continent

This three-day All Systems Go Africa symposium was convened by IRC, in collaboration with UNICEF and the Government of the Republic of Ghana who also hosted the event. Between 19 and 21 October 2022, the event brought together over 250 participants, with delegations from 25 African countries, at the Kempinski Hotel. Participants comprised political leaders, professionals, government officials, academia, NGOs, private sector, donors and regional institutions – including the African Ministers’ Council on Water (AMCOW), the African Development Bank (AfDB), the African Water Association (AfWA), and the African Civil Society Network on Water and Sanitation (ANEW). The symposium examined the lessons learned from the review of progress and the critical changes needed to achieve the water, sanitation and hygiene targets in Africa. The key takeaways from this workshop are available here.

Setting Up a Community of Practice (CoP) on Earth Observation Technologies

As part of the International Water Association (IWA) World Water Congress & Exhibition held from September 11th to 15th, 2022, experts from the PrimeWater Consortium (EMVIS S.A & EOMAP), DHI Water & Environment, Australian Water Partnership (AWP) and African Water Association (AfWA) organized on September 12th, 2022, a session themed “Earth Observation Technologies for Water Management: Building a Community of Practice” to give a background on the Earth Observation (EO) Community of Practice (CoP) and showcase the uses and applications of EO in water management in different cases and contexts. This workshop allowed to develop a call to action on what can be done practically in terms of Knowledge, technology, regulation, etc. for addressing the barriers that were previously identified and creating opportunities for the uptake of earth observations tools and services. Read the session conclusions below.



The USAID-funded Municipal Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Project in West Africa (MuniWASH) is providing technical support to improve the governance and management of municipal water and sanitation services in 16 target municipalities in Benin and Côte d’Ivoire . To serve as a reference framework for the municipal capacity building program, the USAID MuniWASH project provides these target municipalities with a governance tool called the Institutional Strengthening Index (ISI). This tool is deployed in a three-step process as follow:
1. The municipalities self-assess their performance in providing Water and Sanitation services to their constituents.
2. Based on the findings of these self-assessments, the municipalities develop strategic Institutional Strengthening Plans (ISPs) to fill the capacity gaps identified.
3. Finally, the municipalities implement the ISPs for improved service performance.
During the assessment phase conducted in FY2021, the ISI identified deficiencies at the organizational and regulatory levels and in planning, citizen engagement, data management, and others. This learning note presents lessons learned during the initial application of the ISI in partner municipalities.

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Experiments in technical approaches to rural water supply, sanitation and hygiene carried out in my garden and home and in the world beyond.

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