IWA Director and water loss management expert shares his vision and ideas on the issue of water loss control:
“The whole aim is to save more water and extend influence all over the world”
With an interview in mind, I asked Tim Waldron, Chair International Water Association WLSG and Board Director of IWA, a couple of questions. These were namely concerned with the water loss management knowhow in the world, the possible obstacles and the future role of WLSG, his opinions on the influence of politics on public utilities and the development of technology. However, Mr. Waldron gave me some exhaustive responses accompanied to his in-depth considerations addressing the most challenging issues of this domain. This is why I gave up the initial idea, to publish an interview with Tim Waldron, and, instead, we reproduced all his responses in the following article. Much more than a technical contribution from an international expert in water loss management, the article presents the author’s understanding and approach of a global challenge – saving more water around the world – based on a lifetime experience. Jurica Kovač
First of all I have to congratulate all in your region for the excellent work being done since our Water Loss Conference 2007 in Romania. This does not happen without top class leadership fully focussed on saving water. That leadership can be demonstrated by anyone in the water industry, through the conviction of their determination to succeed combined with a knowledge of water loss strategies that have been well developed by the International Water Association. One of your leaders who helped promote water loss reduction was Vasile Ciomos, and I was very sad to hear of his death. I offer my condolences to his family and friends from not just myself, but the IWA water loss colleagues from all around the world. I’m sure he would want to see all of you carry on the good work that he was instrumental in starting in your region of the world. Your question is timely, and although a short question , but needs a long answer. Our Water Loss Specialist Group (WLSG) are seen as very successful by IWA , and the water industry generally. This is because our strategies using the “water balance”, the methods of measurement (ILI), and the action plans to reduce losses, have all had a major influence on the water industry around the world. Other recognised success criteria has been the popular growth in attendance at IWA WLSG Conferences. However, reflecting on success and influence our management team asked the following questions: «What are the “GAPS” in our success?», «What are the “GAPS” in influence?», «How do we improve representation and persuasion?» and «What will move the unmovable managers who do nothing about water losses? ». I copied on a world map of annual precipitation of rain and snow, the geographic parts of the world that we have influence. I have attached a copy of this. It shows we perhaps only influence 20-25% of the world, and in many large countries , such as Russia and China, we have little representation or influence. We therefore decided to have a target through a refocussed VISION. This vision is drafted as: By 2018 water loss methodologies of the Water Loss Specialist group will be implemented by 90% of the water authorities and governments around the world”
To achieve this we decided that we need regional representation, and some new strategies.
The first step was to broaden the base of the management team of the Water Loss Specialist Group by creating a Change Management Project to harness the other regional representatives and any additional professional support needed to achieve our objective(s).
A second tier management team has been introduced. The second tier is representatives of world regions (12 regions), with each representative having voting rights on all other aspects other than policy. The existing senior management team continues with policy responsibility and consists of myself as Chair, and the former Chairs, Allan Lambert, Ken Brothers and Bambos Charalambous.
The 2 groups join together for all other matters, including any democratic voting needs. A strategic plan for each region will be proposed by the regional representatives Each nominated person for the regional management team needed to meet criteria that the senior management team set.
The World Regions and Expert Representatives are as follows:
Western Europe – Stuart Trow and Jo Parker
Eastern Europe – Bambos Charalambos and Marco Fantozzi
South Africa – Ronnie McKenzie
Central Africa – Harrison Mutikanga Tim Waldron,
IWA Director and water loss management expert shares his vision and ideas on the issue of water loss control: “The whole aim is to save more water and extend influence all over the world” With an interview in mind, I asked Tim Waldron, Chair International Water Association WLSG and Board Director of IWA, a couple of questions. These were namely concerned with the water loss management knowhow in the world, the possible obstacles and the future role of WLSG, his opinions on the influence of politics on public utilities and the development of technology. However, Mr. Waldron gave me some exhaustive responses accompanied to his in-depth considerations addressing the most challenging issues of this domain. This is why I gave up the initial idea, to publish an interview with Tim Waldron, and, instead, we reproduced all his responses in the following article. Much more than a technical contribution from an international expert in water loss management, the article presents the author’s understanding and approach of a global challenge – saving more water around the world – based on a lifetime experience.
North America and Canada – Ken Brothers + 1 Central America and Caribbean – Paul Fanner +1 South America – Julian Thornton +1 Russia and the neighbouring regions – Stuart Hamilton +1 Australasia and Pacific– Tim Waldron +1 Eastern and Western Asia – Roland Liemberger China and the neighbouring regions –- Malcolm Farley +1 North Africa and Middle East – Jan Janssen and Bambos Charalambos.
Of course this is just a first step, and many other people will, in time be brought on board to help within these regions. Leaders demonstrate leadership with integrity, total commitment to our aims, gain the respect of their peers, and will emerge to be the choice preferred people to help. I will be looking for them. The World Regional Representatives will become the WLSG and Management Committee representatives for all the WLSG activities within their region, and democratically represent that region at their management meeting. Each region consists of at least 2 countries, and therefore does not conflict with individual countries water association’s strategies or representation. They provide the strategic leadership for that region and organise conference, meetings and other activities to have IWA influence to reduce water losses. Liaison experts will be available to assist them to open doors for influence and finances, and in cases work directly with the Regional Experts.
These include Paul Reiter, Allan Lambert, Jan Janssen, and Arjun Thapan. As far as the establishment of a Draft Protocol is concerned, work to develop a DRAFT ‘Water Loss Protocol’ – to influence nations via a top down approach from government and international agencies is being approached from a perspective that to influence more of the world, and managers that are not already motivated to reduce losses.
Top Down Strategy
The “Top Down Bottom up” dual direction motivation startegies have not previously been in place. All the motivation and influence has been through professional officers applying and sharing skills and knowledge. To raise our game, and save more water around the world, then we must influence at a hgher international level. The spin-offs for professionals already applying IWA strategies, will be that there will be work opportunities opening up world-wide. There are many successes by the experts consulting and in utilities, however some utilities are still taking no action and ignoring water loss problems. Some managers resist any change Why? There misplaced reasoning is a long list, including : It rains, other urgencies, its extra work, their employer has no knowledge on the topic, it can be easily hidden, plus excuses of no budget, no people, ….. I am used as a retired CEO to audit other water companies efficiency levels by their CEO’s, and whenever they say they do not have enough money or people, my audit always shows that there is, and its just a case of focussing on priorities that a utility really wants to achieve, and making it happen. My favourite quote from Henry Ford is “Whether you think you can, or think you can’t you are usually right”. He means that you have to believe heart and soul that you can achieve. If you think like a failure, you will be! Don’t do this. Think positive. There is no reason why YOU cannot be as brilliant as anyone else. The world needs you to succeed, and to help all around you to succeed. A top down strategy to influence national governments and international agencies will be developed. Three international media experts were asked how they would stratagise a top down approach. The World Wildlife Fund International media agent gave the advice that a “Reference of Quotes” for use of theshould have appropriate international quotes from influential people, whether they be water leaders, national leaders or film stars, should be published from internationally recognised people who will attract the media to get quotes from. This will help to muster an international agreement to save water. IWA have also just appointed a communications expert, and we will be collaborating to achieve such an aim. The whole aim is to save more water and extend influence all over the world. You asked that from my position as Chair of the IWA WLSG, what are our present worldwide thoughts for progression, and although I have answered with a comprehensive insight, the strength of our achievements will always rely on the efforts, brilliance and dedication of the Water Loss people in every region. If there is anything more I can do to help you achieve at the highest levels in your Region, then please let me know.
We need every bit of help we can get from technology
Technology is always improving rapidly, and we should always listen intently to the companies investing in development. The days are gone when governments and research centres produce essential products for the water loss reduction needs of industry. Today that void is filled by commercial companies and a few water companies. The available products are superb compared to what we had 40 years ago. However a BIG WARNING to everyone must be given. Technology should always be in line with basic needs of additional knowledge about your water distribution system, and help you not just find leaks, but also understand the influence that has had on pressures and flows. I have heard some salesmen of Correlating Noise Loggers, that if you put enough of these on your network permanently, then you don’t need District Meters. This is a message from a salesman who is only interested in immediate sales, and have no long term interest in helping you. I announced at a South African conference that I publically challenge these salesmen to a public debate. I was disgusted that they try and influence in a manner that could leave the purchaser without any good data for managing the distribution system well. Leakage control is part of that, and the water loss detectives No. 6s november 2013 18 knowledge night flows from DMA’s is the major indicator of problems and success. One of my problems is, that I have been around for many years, and worked in many countries. Many years ago I saw Leak Noise Correlators being sold to developing countries in the same way, telling the prospective purchaser that these will replace the need and the cost of District Meters. I feel sorry for the people who may have believed them. Of course Correlators are good, but only in the perspective of the fact they are just another tool to help. Perhaps I am sensitive to these issues because I was involved with the development of the first leak noise correlator with Water Research Centre (WRC UK) and North West Water UK, and helped with the specification of the very first water industry data loggers for pressure and flow recording with Spectrascan and WRC. On top of this I was the project leader with the first successful Flow Modulated PRV in England along with David Pearson plus a great technical team. I say this, to demonstrate that I am a great believer in using technology to answer our water loss problems. We need these advances. However always be wary if you ever hear someone say that their products can save you costs by rendering the need of measuring flows and pressures as unnecessary. If you do meet anyone saying this, then please send their name to me and I will publicly challenge them to a debate, and shame them. We have enough problems with our efforts to reduce losses, and need every bit of help we can get from technology, so support the companies who want to help with products, rather than have a quick sale.
Politics and public utility
Wow that’s a difficult one. It used to be the same in South America many years ago. We found a water utility in San Paulo Brazil that thought differently and had a motivated CEO. IWA offered to send 5 of the top experts to a Forum of Leaders, and this was sponsored by the utility. Hearing speakers from 5 different parts of the world, plus hearing the Utility leaders saying their needs, could not be ignored by government. The Utility went on to have great results in Water loss, and suppied an extra 2 million people with water from the savings, just as predicted. Although this was a large and powerful utility, they still needed IWA help to assist in political persuasion. A message from leaders of the International Water Association is powerful, especially when targeted to political leaders. However, this cannot be done without having a thorough understanding of local problems, and the strengths and weakness of optional strategies.
IWA Water Loss Specialist Conference in Vienna
Vienna is close to your region, so I hope many of you travel in March to the Water Loss 2014 conference in Austria. The program will be published shortly, but we already have many great papers submitted, and surprisingly lots from countries who have not previously submitted. Our conference organisors are working hard to keep costs down in these difficult economic times, and compared with other conferences we are still much cheaper, and have the all the worlds top experts attending, plus being available for advice. Allan Lambert has indicated that this may be his last major conference to attend, so this could be very special. We all recognise Allan’s importance in developing strategies. We plan to introduce some new thoughts for managers, engineers and scientists to be able to take away and put into practice. Your Water Loss Detectives could have special time allocated to inform the world about, so I would welcome a proposal from your region that can be used as a special presentation, including your competition details and history. Have a think about this, because I am so proud (like a father I suppose) of all the great work that is being done in your area. Finally I would like to say a warm hello to all my friends there. It’s a little sad that when I am running the international conferences that I am so busy during the week, that I have little time to give to friends. So please accept my apologies for this, and perhaps consider going on the “follow-on” 3 day tour of somewhere in Austria, where I can relax and spend lots of time with you all, as I would love to see you all. Believe it or not, although it is supposed to be a non work tour, guess what we talk about? Yes, that’s right, Water Loss reduction !!!! But maybe with a glass of wine!!! See you all soon hopefully, and don’t forget, let me know how we can help you.
Tim WALDRON chair of IWA Water Loss Specialist Group