Earlier this month, GoAL WaSH Programme Manager, Dr Alejandro Jiménez, carried out a mission to Bosnia and Herzegovina to support to the implementation of the project in country.
GoAL WaSH mission to Bosnia and Herzegovina
The project is focused on the development and testing of a tariff-setting methodology for water utilities, and the establishment of a regulatory function in the country that would approve the tariffs.Close to 80 per cent of the water utilities in Bosnia and Herzegovina are at risk of bankruptcy, with some of them already there. This is a consequence of poor management of services, particularly, high levels of non-revenue water (often 60 per cent or more), a high number of staff employed compared to the number of users served, and low tariffs that do not, in many cases, allow coverage for recurrent operation and maintenance costs. In addition, there is a complex distribution of responsibilities across different levels of the two different entities that constitute Bosnia Herzegovina, which makes it difficult to find the right partner for direction and support to the sector, without getting blocked by other institutions.
The mission consisted of a number of meetings with relevant stakeholders at different levels of government, as well as the participation in a workshop for 20 water utilities and the Assembly of Association of Communal Employers (municipalities), where the methodology for tariff setting was presented.
The stakeholders at all levels expressed understanding regarding the urgency of reforming water utilities. The piloting in two selected municipalities, which will start beginning of 2017, will hopefully pave the way for others to adopt it – and ultimately, to the definition of regulatory body for water services in Bosnia and Herzegovina.