Benchmarking has become a key tool in the water industry to promote and achieve performance targets for utilities. Utilized as an “instrument for performance improvement through systematic search and adaptation of leading practices”, benchmarking activities have expanded globally. Nowadays, many projects are being carried out worldwide to meet different needs and objectives, in varying contexts, with outstanding results and impact. However, despite the many projects, published papers and ever growing interest in this field, the terms and concepts used by the industry are far from being consistent.
This Manual of Best Practice is edited by the IWA Task Group on Benchmarking (a joint effort of the IWA Efficient Operation & Management Specialist Group and IWA Statistics & Economics Specialist Group) and co-published by AWWA and IWA Publishing. The manual provides valuable information to those planning to get involved in a benchmarking project and even to experienced practitioners.
The objectives of this manual are to define a new framework in which the traditional benchmarking concepts can be clearly distinguished, guaranteeing more fluent and efficient communication. The manual intends to be a hands-on document, with a practice oriented approach, both from the perspective of those organizing a project, as well as the needs of potential participants and even beginners in the topic. This practical how-to information originates in the experiences gathered in some of the most relevant benchmarking projects in the water industry to date, including the IWA-WSAA benchmarking efforts, the European Benchmarking Co-operation and the several benchmarking projects carried out in Austria and Central Europe.