Unitywater helps Indonesian water utility that services five million people

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Unitywater helps Indonesian water utility that services five million people

For Ivan Beirne, visiting Surabaya, Indonesia, has affirmed how fortunate we are in South-East Queensland to have safe drinking water and a working sewerage system.

The Manager of Asset Knowledge and Performance at Unitywater undertook a knowledge-sharing trip as part of an Indonesia-Australia Water Utility Improvement Program (WUIP) to assist Indonesian water utilities to build their capacity.

Unitywater has partnered with PDAM Surabaya, a utility on the island of Java that supplies water to more than three million people in its service area. This number climbs to about five million during the day as people travel to the city for work.

“In just a few days, we gained some fascinating insights into how this utility operates,” Mr Beirne said.

“We have partnered with PDAM Surabaya for the next two years and this first trip was about establishing a positive working relationship with them.

“They are very eager to learn from us and we are proud to be able to offer our technical knowledge to assist them.

“They have the very real challenge of delivering safe water to an enormous number of people, with infrastructure that has, in some areas, been installed during the Dutch Colonial era.

“There is also no sewerage system. We witnessed a water pipe repair where the break was under an open sewer channel and workers had to dive under in order to fix the pipe. Unfortunately, they deal with this quite often and service conflicts are not well managed or regulated.

“Our work will involve sharing our knowledge and expertise specifically in non-revenue water reduction, water safety plan development and asset management. Our role will be to advise and mentor the engineering teams at PDAM Surabaya.”

Representatives from PDAM Surabaya will reciprocate a visit and are planning a trip to Unitywater in November.

The Indonesia-Australia Water Utility Improvement Program supports the Australian Government’s New Aid Policy (New Aid Paradigm) and is an initiative of the Australian Water Association and the Peak Water Supply Association of Indonesia (PERPAMSI), supported by the Australian Water Partnership (AWP).

Three Australian utilities and three Indonesian water utilities are participating in the program.