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Home » Water » More with less: improving water efficiency with existing resources

Amit Horman

CEO, Miya Water

Noam Komy

Chief Growth Officer, Miya Water

With around 30% of water supply lost by utilities across the world, integrated solutions are vital to ensure better water efficiency on a global scale.

In Manila, Philippines, one of the most densely populated metropolitan areas in the world, more than two-thirds of the water supply was being lost up until 2009, depriving 2.7 million people of access to clean water.

A five-year project run by Miya Water, to improve the efficiency of the existing resources saw these water losses reduced by almost half. It provides residents with permanent water access, saving 1.3 billion litres of drinking water and creating more than 450 local jobs to maintain the newly established network.

Amit Horman, CEO of Miya Water, explains, “Providing access to water changes people’s lives. It also has an environmental impact, and, when people do not have to wait in queues for hours, a role which traditionally falls to girls and women, there is a secondary, social impact. This economic and social ripple effect is often ignored, but we think it is critical.”

Looking holistically at water conservation

The largest private operator of water utilities in Portugal, everyday Miya also saves 150,000 million litres of fresh water which would otherwise be lost

“We think about the water system as a living organism, where things are changing all the time,” says Noam Komy, Chief Growth Officer. “We are result- rather than process-driven, and to achieve that we approach projects holistically, zooming out to see how we impact the entire system. In an input-based approach, you might promise to replace a certain amount of pipe, but then you don’t have any flexibility if the situation requires something different. We want to avoid this, naturally, by taking an output-based approach focused on results.”

As a net job creator on all projects, the company focuses on performance-based contracts to encourage employees to work efficiently and productively.

All our activity is performance-based,” Komy explains. “There is an element of performance payment to everything we do. People are economical creatures, and we believe that to have an alignment of interests, you have to have financial motivation to do things right. We have to motivate people to save their budgets to keep resources managed in a smart way, because if we don’t do that, the unfortunate result is that these things do not fix themselves but deteriorate.”

Providing access to water changes people’s lives. It also has an environmental impact, and, when people do not have to wait in queues for hours, a role which traditionally falls to girls and women, there is a secondary, social impact.

After implementing change on a project, focus will shift to training local staff to maintain efficient ways of working. As a result, 95% of the company’s workforce is local.

Komy says, “We do not believe that making businesses dependent on us is a sustainable business model. We want our clients to know that the engagement finishes at a final stage. It is not healthy for them to be fully dependent on expats. We bring in knowledge from outside and make sure it stays.”

This alignment of interests across all stakeholders is vital for ensuring all parties are committed to efficiencies.

Komy adds, “We strongly believe that if we give everyone the chance and the motivation and keep everyone’s interests aligned, things will work. There’s no magic. We are very technologically orientated and use high-end processes and products, but there is no magic pill or single solution. It is just basic process management.”

The value of water

Overwhelmingly, the Miya ethos holds that with a shared understanding of the value of water, all parties can align by caring for the resource respectfully.

“We want to see a world that respects the value of water,” says Horman. “With that gained respect, people will understand that to care for it, they have to manage it in an efficient way. It all starts from the perception than water is a valuable resource. Without appreciating its economic value, which involves charging people the right tariffs, there can be no respect for it. If it is free, unfortunately people will treat it accordingly. If the cost is not representative, people will waste it.”

Miya is a water operator driven by efficiency with proven success. With a presence on five continents, providing water services to over 9 million people around the globe, the Company has created the largest, most complex projects in this space.

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