MEG project: Improving water supply services for more than 60,000 citizens in municipalities of Kalesija and ŽepčeJun 6, 2017
Within the scope of Municipal Environmental and Economic Governance (MEG) Project, financed and supported by the Government of Switzerland and implemented by United Nations Development Program (UNDP) in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), the first Public Service Agreement (PSA) between municipalities and utility companies in Kalesija and Žepče haven been signed. By signing this Agreement, all the rights, obligations and responsibilities of municipal bodies and water supply utility companies have been systematically regulated for the first time. Agreement additionally regulates purification and disposal of wastewater, with the result of the improved quality of public water services for more than 60.000 citizens who live in these municipalities.
“Public Service Agreements will contribute to strengthening the responsibilities of local governments and water utility companies, which are related to provision of water supply and wastewater services. These Agreements will support both local governments and water utility companies, in their effort to address a number of challenges, especially those related to limited asset management efficiency and lack of funds for investment maintenance”, said Regula Babler, Local Governance Advisor at the Swiss Embassy to BiH
“In the long run, these Agreements will enable a sustainable supply of quality drinking water through maintenance, reduction of non-revenue water, improvement of reliability and expansion of the existing water supply network. In addition, the PSA will ensure the protection of customers, who will have better quality of drinking water and optimized cost of public water services in the forthcoming period”, said Goran Štefatić, MEG project manager.
Within MEG project activities in Municipality of Žepče, common goal is to decrease losses in the water supply system, introduce new collection methodology, establish a functional infrastructure maintenance fund, and secure subsidies for socially endangered categories of citizens, and to have an improved efficiency of public utility staff. Additionally, MEG project will support obtaining the new accounting software that will enable more efficient business management of the utility company. Major of Žepče municipality, Mato Zovko, said that municipality will invest their own funds together with the funds from MEG project to introduce an enhanced control over the sources of drinking water, arrangement of waterproof zones, procurement of devices for fault detection, and repairs of old plumbing network. In addition, a part of the water utility cost for socially vulnerable families, will be subsidized.
Major of Kalesija, Sead Džafić, said that the funds received from MEG project represent the obligation which they must fulfil, and pointed out that this is particularly related to subsidizing social categories of citizens who cannot pay for water: “It is our obligation to support socially vulnerable citizens and we will respect it.”, he said. In municipality of Kalesija, MEG project will provide equipment for measuring and decreasing water losses in the system, which will significantly contribute to the improvement of water supply system for the citizens.
Director of Kalesija public company “Vodovod i Kanalizacija”, Senaid Sinanović, said that signing this Agreement is meaningful for the foreseen improvement of water supply and expressed the confidence that in the coming period citizens of Kalesija will experience improved water supply services.
MEG project provides support to local governments in improving quality and availability of public services and communal infrastructure for the livelihood of at least 700.000 citizens, with special attention given to socially vulnerable groups.