AQSur provides quality water with a new 24/7 service to 25,000 customers in Colombia
The utility AQSur now supplies uninterrupted, quality drinking water to six municipalities in Colombia. The project combined billing and collection services, customer care, and O&M to boost water efficiency and achieve financial sustainability.
Challenges of the project
AQSur aimed to improve the supply service and water quality, boosting efficiency and increasing the ROI of its infrastructures.
The water utility had an outdated customer database and was only able to estimate customer consumption. Drinking water coverage was below 70%, supplying customers with water for less than six hours per day. Wastewater coverage was less than 20%.
The volume of non-revenue water, the costs of infrastructure maintenance, and the payment of only 5% of bills resulted in losses that had to be addressed.
It was imperative to achieve financial sustainability, improve operational management and ensure that the entire population received a quality supply.
AQsur has been delivering drinking water and wastewater services in six municipalities in Colombia since 2018. It has more than 25,000 customers in the South Atlantic Department.
- Location: Colombia, LATAM.
- Timespan: 2018 – 2038
- Services: billing and collection services, customer service, and operation and maintenance of networks and plants.
- Joint venture: Idrica (Aguas de Valencia) and Naunet (Saur).
Reading, billing and collection
- Development of an updated customer database.
- Implementation of the updated, classified database through the application of Geographical Information Systems (GIS). Asset classification according to diameter and material.
- Development of business management procedures.
- Creation of a customer service department.
- 10% annual increase in network coverage.
- Implementation of a programme to eliminate health risks in drinking water consumption.
Operation and maintenance of networks and plants
- Initial appraisal of pre-project operation and maintenance procedures. Implementation of maintenance plans across the system.
- Extension and upgrading of drinking water and sewerage networks. Installation of micro-metering systems.
- Implementation of master plans based on network diagnosis, including an investment plan and ROI analysis.
- Implementation of an investment plan totalling approximately $2M in the first three years.
- Replacement of drinking and wastewater pumping equipment. Automation of wastewater pumping stations.
- Acquisition of laboratory equipment at eight DWTPs. Implementation of quality systems and procedures.
- Knowledge transfer through training programmes.
Benefits and results
Through this project, AQSur managed to improve the quality and reliability of the water supply network and put sewerage into service in the six cities it manages. It also boosted water efficiency in its infrastructures.
The installation of micro-metering systems increased by 26%, as part of an overall investment programme worth $11 million, based on long-term viability and monitoring of CAPEX and ROI.
A 20% increase in the number of billed users, and a 45% increase in the number of customers was an essential factor in boosting the utility’s revenues.
The implementation of new operational procedures to control OPEX was crucial to the success of the project. Customer satisfaction increased thanks to the new customer care service and supply improvements. Water supply coverage reached 95%.
+270% service reliability
+130% improvement in water quality
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