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Urban Water Supply in South Sudan

Thursday, 15 March 2018 12:57 Written by 
  • Location(s): South Sudan
  • Type(s): Solution
  • Theme(s): Water Security
  • SDG(s): 1. No poverty, 6. Clean Water and Sanitation
  • Locations in Africa: South Sudan
  • Types in Africa: Solution
  • Themes in Africa: Water Security
  • SDGs in Africa: 1. No poverty, 6. Clean Water and Sanitation
  • Types of ComSec Solutions: Solution

South Sudan became independent in 2011 after the long conflict. The Population in Juba (Capital city) has been drastically increasing after the return of refugees and is now estimated around 600,000 to 800,000. Infrastructure challenges like water supply create a major challenge for living. The coverage of water supply in Juba is as low as about 10%. A small fraction of the citizens who have access to water with service connection pays the lower fixed water tariff. The other large fraction of the citizens relies on unfiltered river water, unprotected wells and/or high salinity water. The South Sudan Urban Water Corporation (SSUWC), a water utility responsible for construction and management of water supply facilities and served under the Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation (MWRI), is financially and technically not sustainable due to high non-revenue water (NRW) ratio and low water tariff collection ratio. As it is necessary to raise tariff and tariff collection ratio, SSUWC is required to improve its performance and customer service to obtain understanding and cooperation from the citizen.

To enhance the capacity of SSUWC’s service delivery for safe and clean water supply in a sustainable manner in Juba JICA and South Sudan have been implementing “the Project for Management Capacity Enhancement of South Sudan Urban Water Corporation” as a Japanese Technical Cooperation (T/C) since 2010. The phase 2 (2016 – 2020) focuses on the capacity development with regard to financial management, NRW management, and operation and maintenance of the facilities.

JICA supports SSUWC to learn from Uganda and Cambodia’s prominent water utilities. The objective of these trainings in each country are the following:

  1. SSUWC can learn what worked well for water utility reforms from those two countries’ experiences; and
  2. SSUWC can come up with its reform plan based on their own situation.

Trainings in Uganda and Cambodia as well as in Japan in 2017 had been conducted as one of the activities of the Project. They covered learning from prominent water utilities in developing countries, National Water and Sewerage Corporation (NWSC) in Uganda and Phnom Penh Water Supply Authority (PPWSA) in Cambodia, about their successful experiences with reforms and challenges of infrastructure development. Both NWSC and PPWSA have achieved substantial improvements in performance and successful organizational change, despite working in harsh environments. For example, NRW of PPWSA and NWSC had been improved significantly from 72 % in 1993 to 6 % in 2011 and from 60% in 1998 to 28 % in 2018 respectively. And, sharing the history of Cambodia (deteriorated infrastructure due to the civil war in the 1970s), which was similar to the current one South Sudan goes through.

Minister of MWRI and key officials of SSUWC visited prominent water utilities in Uganda and Cambodia. Training was conducted in Uganda utilizing training program of NWSC and its water supply facilities. Lecture and training by NWSC about a wide range of topic for management such as water tariff, financial management, public awareness, NRW management, GIS, water distribution management, and sharing the reform history of NWSC. The lecture was delivered by PPWSA about its reform history and utility management.

Minister of MWRI and SSUWC obtained confidence about its reform plan. In the case of Cambodia, the coverage of water supply in Phnom Penh had increased drastically from 20% in 1993 to 82 % in 2003, with reduction of NRW and tariff revision, which resulted in making a net profit. In terms of timeline, the history of PPWSA (Cambodia) showed that it might not take much time to achieve the reform as it just took over 10 years. The lectures were persuasive as most of them were given by PPWSA executives who had gone through the tough challenges since the 1990’s. It is possible for SSUWC to improve their performance as well as expand the water supply coverage.

Continuous joint training with NWSC will be effective in strengthening SSUWC’s performance. The technology, as well as management methods of the neighboring country, are similar to that of South Sudan. As a result, it is easy for the participants from SSUWC to learn from NWSC’ experiences.

SSUWC HQs and Juba station started to make a reform action plan, which includes a reflection of good practices and lessons learned of PPWSA and NWSC (for example, the necessity of political will, good leadership, motivated staff, and supports from development partners and peers, and so on). Overall achievement of the trainings were the following:

  • A reform plan for improvement of utility performance and identifying priority actions which contribute to efficient and effective improvements, based on learnings from prominent water utilities in developing countries and lessons learned from them.
  • Practical skills and management methods from neighboring country.
  • Bridge organizations in different developing countries with the support of development partners (such as JICA in this case), which understand challenges in detail and development process of various developing countries, and have a good relationship.

Partners: JICA; South Sudan Urban Water Corporation (SSUWC); Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation (MWRI)
Budget: Approximately 0.2 Million (training in third countries) by the end of 2017

Contact details:
Japan International Cooperation Agency(JICA) Japan
Daisuke Sakamoto (Mr.), Special Adviser, Water Resources Group, Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA)
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Read 9884 times Last modified on Wednesday, 25 July 2018 20:28
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