Topic: Benchmarking and Performance Indicators

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Courtesy of IWA Publishing

One of the important ways organizations, evaluate the effectiveness of a process or activity is by defining and using some performance measures. These measures could be quantitative or qualitative but should be clearly defined, easy to use and understand, technically sound, be able to measure trends over time, and be relevant to the users—in this case water utility operational staff and decision makers (Alegre and Cabrerra, 2011; Arriëns, Flor, and Pascua, 2005).  Thus, PIs and benchmarking assesses the efficiency of a water utility in a particular area of operation (especially reducing losses) as well as measuring a utility’s performance against other water utilities.

Performance indicators (PIs) and benchmarking is necessary for several reasons—regulation, international statistics, organizational management, thematic uses and for developing decision support systems (Alegre and Cabrerra, 2011). For water utilities, performance indicators and benchmarking are essential for predicting potential savings and revenue increases, developing a reduction strategy for reducing real and apparent losses as well as setting realistic targets (Preston and Sturm, 2002).

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