WOP: Thames Water Utilities Limited & Central Region Water Board

WOP: Thames Water Utilities Limited & Central Region Water Board

SecretariatSecretariat   May 03, 2019  

wop africa

Thames Water has set out to raise £1.77 million over four years, from 2016 – 2020, to transform the lives of people living in two towns, Kasungu and Mponela.

To really unlock people’s potential, decent toilets and good hygiene are every bit as important as having clean water.

Without all three, people can’t live dignified, healthy lives. With all three, they can break free from poverty, unleash their potential and change their lives for good.

The water and sanitation crisis in both of these towns is placing a heavy burden on their residents and affecting every aspect of daily life.

The project set out to directly reach:

  • 5,950 people with access to clean water
  • 38,650 people with decent sanitation
  • 23,190 people with hygiene education messages.

To achieve this, Thames Water are constructing water kiosks, designing and trialling sanitation solutions, and promoting good hygiene practices.

Additionally, Thames Water, supported by WaterAid, has established a capacity-building programme with colleagues at the water utility company, Central Region Water Board (CRWB) Malawi.

This peer-to-peer relationship building aims to facilitate transference of skills, knowledge, experience and resources - with an overall aim of improving services delivered by CRWB in Kasungu and Mponela.

In both towns, CRWB has a legal responsibility to supply safe water to residents, but has struggled to deliver reliable and accessible services. Where a piped water service exists, the supply is unreliable and in some cases, water is only available for less than six hours a day. Electricity supply is erratic and negatively affects production and distribution of water to customers. Access to adequate sanitation is very low in both towns resulting in a high prevalence of diseases and general low productivity.

Together, Thames Water, CRWB and WaterAid have started on the journey to change this situation for thousands of people in Mponela and Kasungu.



Keith Silk (Thames Water) demonstrating how to use the listening stick        during a training session with CRWB staff in Mponela, Malawi,                 September 2017

Thames Water team with CRWB staff inspecting water pressure drop in Kasungu, Malawi, September 2017



August 22, 2017 - March 03, 2020
Did the operators sign a formal partnership agreement?
Mentor motivations
  • Corporate social responsibility
  • New opportunities/challenges for employees
WOPs facilitator



    Type of support
    • Advice
    • Facilitation
    • Other


  • Asset management
  • Billing and revenue collection
  • Business planning and financial management
  • Customer relations
  • Expanding services to low income households
  • Non Revenue Water (NRW) management
  • Waste water collection and treatment
  • Water quality management

Through the establishment of the WOP, TWUL will provide peer-to-peer transfer of skills, knowledge, experience and resources (including tools, processes and systems etc.) to CRWB, with the explicit aim of improving the capacity and performance of CRWB.

The focus of the WOP will be the improvement of the services delivered by CRWB in the towns of Kasungu and Mponela and with the specific aims of increasing revenue for re-investment by;
• reducing levels of non-revenue water
• introduction of efficient business processes and systems
• changing customer behaviours and attitudes towards bill payment
and potentially;
• establishing a liquid waste management service.

The Parties will jointly collaborate on the WOP through a range of interventions including but not limited to conducting joint needs assessment, benchmarking, planning and problem solving, training workshops, consultation and site visits, in order to make improvements in the thematic areas highlighted in clause 3 above.

The WOP will be implemented on a phased basis with each phase focusing on a specific thematic area and linking with one of TWUL’s businesses (Wholesale Water, Retail Water, Wholesale Wastewater, Retail Wastewater and Corporate Services). Detailed activities, timeframe, budget (if required) and deliverables for implementation of each phase will be included in a separate project plan agreed upon between Thames Water and CRWB following a detailed needs assessment of the relevant thematic area by nominated experts from TWUL and CRWB.


What types of activities were carried out to help develop operator capacity?
  • Classroom training
  • On the job training
  • Site visits
  • Other


Describe the overall results
Working together with CRWB, Thames Water have helped to create significant improvements during, and following, a visit to Malawi in September 2017:

a) Improved the hours of water supply to the communities of Bwemba, Moffat and Juma
Previously these communities had suffered from intermittent water supply due to power cuts and insufficient water in the reservoir tank. This meant that people sometimes returned to unprotected water supplies.
The Thames team, by working with CRWB, were able to discover and remove blockages and carry out maintenance work. For example, in Kasungu a forgotten valve that was blocked and clogged was found to be the main cause for low pressure in the northern, eastern and western parts of Kasungu
Municipality, covering Bwemba, Juma and Moffat communities. After it was cleaned, the pressure instantly improved, filling the 150 cubic litre water reservoir tank and allowing the communities increased hours of access to water.

b) Improved water treatment
CRWB have implemented recommendations made by Thames Water at the Kasungu Water Treatment Plant to help optimise the water treatment. This included moving and installing dosing and sampling lines, increasing the desludging frequency and replacing the filter media.

c) Reduced non-revenue water
Thames Water employees explained and demonstrated the use of simple technologies such as divining rods and metal detectors to determine water balance and detect leaks. CRWB have also implemented recommendations made by Thames Water for the Kasungu and Mponela network, including using meters with in-built non-return valves.

Following the skills share training from Thames Water, CRWB staff have installed the first District Metered Area (DMA) in Kasungu. Additional materials for other DMAs are being procured so that more DMAs can be established in Kasungu and Mponela.

d) Improved revenue for CRWB
As a result of Thames water’s visit, CRWB has managed to reduce non-revenue water from 29% to 25%. The utility has to date been able to produce a billed volume of 78,000 cubic metres of water monthly, surpassing a targeted monthly billed volume of 70,404 cubic meters.
CRWB has attributed this increase in the volume of billed water to the peer-to-peer training that has enabled the operation staff to detect leakages and carry out repairs, to manage pressure and to conduct water balance.
This means increased revenue for the utility and more water available for people living in low-income areas.

e) Improved skills of CRWB employees
Thanks to the practical training sessions designed and led by Thames Water employees, CRWB employees can now:
• detect leaks
• carry out simple water demand management and balance activities, eg. using valve management to regulate pressure and analysing trends of billing versus water production.

f) Progress on sanitation
Two Thames Water experts from the wastewater business explored and gained a better understanding of the sanitation challenges facing the two towns and how Thames Water can support this work.

Which factors had a positive influence on the success of your WOP?
  • Participation of external actors
  • Part of a national improvement process
  • Relationship of individuals
  • Training
  • Other

Which factors impeded the success of your WOP?
  • Inadequate understanding of capacity needs
  • Other