The European Union supported strengthening local capacities for better quality water supply in the cross-border area of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro

Within the project “Action to increase energy and water efficiency of water supply services” funded by the European Union, under the IPA cross-border cooperation program Bosnia and Herzegovina – Montenegro, from 3rd to 5th March 2021, an online training entitled “Benchmarking for the improvement of water supply services in the cross-border area of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro” was held.

This was the first of two planned trainings, organized with the aim of strengthening the capacities of local actors involved in the provision of water supply services in a continuous effort to improve their services. Especially in the context of using comparative assessments (benchmarking), through which they gain insight into their performance, with the possibility of comparing performance with similar companies, and implementing activities to improve their own performance.

During this training, 9 lecturers from Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina shared their knowledge and experiences with 40 participants from public water utilities and local governments. Through interactive exercises and discussions, the participants were introduced to the process of benchmarking, which has become a key tool for making informed decisions about improving services in an economically viable and environmentally sustainable direction. The lecturers also pointed out the importance of having measuring equipment in water utilities, and the need for continuous monitoring and recording of measured values, as one of the main prerequisites for the successful implementation of comparative assessments. One of the key aspects in planning performance improvement through the provision of sustainable service is the mutual cooperation of water utilities and local governments, all in order to determine local priorities, determine appropriate phases of activities and assess the feasibility of actions to improve services.

With the slogan “Every drop and kilowatt are important”, the European Union has financially supported the implementation of this project to achieve long-term resource efficiency in the water supply sector, which seeks to strengthen sustainable development in over 70 municipalities and cities in the cross-border area of BiH and Montenegro. It is implemented jointly from December 1, 2019, by the Center for Energy, Environment, and Resources – CENER 21 from Sarajevo (BiH), and the Center for Energy Efficiency from Podgorica (Montenegro) and will last for 24 months. The total budget of the project is over 305,000 euros, of which the European Union provided 259,603.82 euros in grants.