Sustainability of Public Sector  Management in Water Supply may be at risk.


Capacity  building and  new regulations are needed in the Water Supply Management of metropolitan municipalities   in Türkiye

Dursun Yıldız

Hydropolitics Academy Director

January 22, 2022


Services provided by operators of public water supply and sewerage systems are a specific segment of water services. Their sustainability is controlled on the one hand by public sector regulation and on the other by a combination of economic, social, and environmental objectives and how they are achieved.

Since the total population of Turkey is 85,154,997, the population in the 30 provinces makes up 77% of the population of the country.

Providing services to more than 75% of the total population of our country, Water and Sewerage Administrations are performing water services management in 30 metropolitan municipalities as executive institutions in a wide range of services from lost water to subscriber services, from drinking water treatment to wastewater recycling, from rainwater collection and disposal to stream bed improvement. occupies a very important place.

After 2014, the area of responsibility of the metropolitan municipalities was extended to the provincial borders, and with the closure of the town municipalities, it only covered all the district municipalities in the province. As their areas of responsibility have expanded since 2014, the pressures arising from structural and economic problems are increasing with the responsibilities on the water and sewerage administrations of metropolitan cities (SU Kİ).

Administrations, which have various types of services, are obliged to continuously and systematically measure and monitor how effectively and efficiently they perform their services.

Current Situation Assessment in SUEN's Reports

The report of the 3rd phase of the "Benchmarking between Water and Sewerage Administrations" study, which was initiated in 2017 by the Turkish Water Institute (SUEN) to reveal the service and performance levels of Water and Sewerage Administrations in a comparative way, was published in June 2022.

 The data shared by 29 water and sewerage administrations of our country were analyzed by SUEN with a comparative evaluation study. The following striking results are included in the 3rd Stage evaluation report published in June 2022.

Staff training is not given due importance.

When the data of 28 SUKIs are analyzed for “in-service training time per staff”, which is of high importance for the capacity development of human resources; It has been determined that the average in-service training period is 0.16 hours/personnel.year. Only 6 out of 28 administrations have an average value.

This shows that many administrations do not give the necessary importance to personnel training.

Three-quarters of metropolitan cities do not have a Water Master Plan

According to the statements of 28 administrations that provided information for the indicator "existence of a valid and implemented master plan" among corporate strategic management indicators, the number of administrations that do not have a master plan is 21. It should be among the priorities that SUKIs base their services on a master plan prepared with a program and a perspective of at least 30 years, rather than short-term solutions.

It is important that the relevant administrations in all provinces, especially SUKIs in metropolitan cities, have well-prepared master plans to provide drinking water, wastewater, and rainwater services efficiently and economically. According to the statements of 28 administrations that provided information for the indicator "existence of a valid and implemented master plan" among corporate strategic management indicators, the proportion of administrations that do not have a valid and implemented master plan is 75%.

Only 9 of the SUKIs have their R&D Units

It is very important for SUKIs with sufficient financial and technical means to have a separate R&D unit to expand R&D activities in the sector, which has a wide research field in drinking water and wastewater.

In the study conducted by SUEN, when "the existence of an R&D unit in the administration" was questioned, it was seen that the number of administrations with independent R&D units was only 9 among 29 administrations.

Energy and financial performance efficiencies of SUKIs are low

Relatively low administrations, especially in the areas of energy efficiency and financial performance appears to be performing. It is necessary for the administrations to work on energy efficiency to make renewable energy sources a component of their business activities.

Administrations are required to take the necessary measures to increase the equity, income-expenditure, and collection ratios, which are the most important components of economic and financial performance.

The average water loss rate is 40%

Although drinking water services have a higher average value than other areas, the water loss rate (40%), which is one of the most important component indicators of this area, is still at a high level. As stipulated in the Regulation on the Control of Water Losses in Drinking Water Supply and Distribution Systems, this rate must be brought below 25% urgently.

3 SUKI completely draws groundwater

When the data shared by SUKI is analyzed; it is seen that the rates of surface and underground water resources are on average 59% and 41%, respectively. 3 administrations reported that they used a completely surface water source and 3 administrations reported that they used a completely underground water source.

The performance and sustainability of SUKIs are critical

Scope of work; The adequacy and effectiveness of administrations were questioned in 7 important sub-categories, which form the basis of their corporate success and sustainability.

Thematic categories determined as corporate, economic, financial, customer services, energy efficiency, drinking water services, wastewater services, and environment are very important in terms of evaluating the performances of different fields of activity separately. Administrations analyzed in different categories were also evaluated according to the total score within the index created from a holistic perspective.

The average U. Apgar Index score for 28 administrations evaluated throughout Turkey was determined as 8.32 for 2020, which corresponds to the critical level in the index scale.

No improvement in the Performance of SUKIs

When this value is compared with 8.44, which is the average value of the latest comparative evaluation study calculated with 2017 data, it is seen that no progress has been made in terms of general performance in the sector.

Within the scope of this study, the results of the Performance Areas Index, which was developed to show the performance status of SUKIs in 7 performance categories, showed that the three lowest-performing areas were energy efficiency, economic-financial, and wastewater services.

SUKIs need  capacity improvement and new regulations

Since SUKIs in our country provide public services to 80% of the country's population on water and wastewater and are privileged public monopolies, the comparative evaluation of their performance is very important.

Comparative evaluation studies carried out by SU-EN 3 times revealed that there is a need for important regulations in institutions, both administratively and technically.

To develop fast and low-cost solutions to the common problems of the SUKIs in our country, to carry out training/certification activities, to carry out applied joint R&D studies, to support the sharing of knowledge and experience, the institutional structures and regulations of the SUKIs  need to be  reconsidered, taking into account the draft of the Water Law, which is being prepared for submission to the Parliament. the arrangement is of great benefit.


Improving the Performance of Public Sector Providers

Public sector water utilities provide water supply services and/or wastewater and sanitation services under the control of governmental entity, typically a municipality. Public sector water utilities are generally labelled as inefficient, plagued with financial, operational, and institutional constraints, resulting in poor service delivery. This Tool provides an overview of these challenges and suggestions for possible reforms to improve the efficiency of public sector water utilities.

Due to the strategic value of a utility, many countries decide to keep control of the utility in the public sector to guarantee the provision to all at an affordable price. renewing the infrastructure associated with the supply of water on a national scale.

Therefore  national water supply businesses in many countries operate in the public sector.

 Many governments  seeks to improve the performance of publicly owned and operated service providers so that they can better meet the water supply and sanitation demands of their present and potential consumers.

The critical issue for utilities that do not currently operate efficiently is how to establish a reform program to improve governance and introduce incentives to improve efficiency and customer responsiveness.

More generally, the quality of public sector governance should be taken into account, as should the overall financing and management of municipalities. Internal incentives should be reinforced by external pressures, including the comparison of utility performance against sensible benchmarks, and the public disclosure of these results.

SUKİ’s need capacity development to  obtain, strengthen, and maintain their capabilities to  achieve their public service  objectives. They also need capacity-building to sustainably improve performance



 Comparative Performance Evaluation between Metropolitan Water and Sewerage Administrations (Phase 3) Publication Year: June 2022 ISBN: 978-625-8451-43-6. SU-EN Istanbul

PDF Version of the article



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