IBM supports water infrastructure benchmarking initiative in Uganda

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Greentech Lead Africa: Waterfund and IBM have signed an agreement with the Ministry of Water and Environment of the Republic of Uganda that makes the country the first in Africa to become a member of the pioneering Water Cost Index (WCI).

Waterfund, with IBM acting as calculation agent, will work with the Ministry of Water and Environment to calculate the cost of producing water in Uganda.

Becoming part of Waterfund’s benchmark index for water costs will help place Uganda at the forefront of innovation in finding significant funding solutions to realize its water infrastructure goals, said Professor Ephraim Kamuntu , Uganda’s Minister of Water and Environment.

The index will provide Uganda with a benchmark for helping measure critical projects on a like-for-like basis. This makes it a vital tool for attracting funding for the water infrastructure projects critical to national development.

“The unprecedented level of transparency that the index will bring to pricing water sector investments in Uganda will be a great asset in attracting private sector funding that can help us provide clean and safe freshwater to all our citizens,” Kamuntu added.

The work will reflect estimated water production costs measured in US dollars per cubic meter and be published as part of the Rickards Real Cost Water Index, to be updated monthly.

The Rickards Real Cost Water Index will highlight the energy costs, interest rate risk, and capital expenditures required to build and maintain large-scale water treatment and delivery networks in Uganda.

The FY 2012/2013 budget for the Ministry of Water and Environment to invest in the water sector is UGX 301.9bn (US$153mn), with plans to supply 77 percent of rural dwellers and 100 percent of urban dwellers with clean water by 2015. To achieve this aim, however, it will require Uganda to commit at least US$300mn per year of new investment to the water sector until 2020.

“Uganda is proving itself to be very forward thinking and proactive in the solutions it is seeking to meet the water infrastructure investment challenges it faces,” said president and CEO of Waterfund Scott Rickards.

“This innovative spirit, combined with Waterfund’s first of its kind water cost index and IBM’s unrivalled expertise in Big Data analytics, will bring real financial transparency to Uganda’s water sector and significantly broaden the funding options available to ensure sufficient investment in freshwater infrastructure,” Rickards added.

Also read: IBM helps Arad Group manage big data for water meter solutions

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