NWASCO as the national regulator for urban and peri-urban WSS has the legal obligation to monitor the sector, to advise stakeholders on issues related to WSS, to inform the public and to encourage the providers to improve on efficiency, accessibility and customer services. To monitor performance of providers and to use information for benchmarking NWASCO had to establish an information system comprising key data from all management areas of the providers as well as socio-economic data. The regulator was also obliged to put in place a system of regular updating through data submitted by the providers. To fulfil its obligation to inform the public and to offer advice to decision makers, NWASCO also had to put in place a system of reporting to the stakeholders.
The NWASCO Information System (NIS) was developed locally with expert input from an IT specialist and in close collaboration with NWASCO. This included the finalisation of the system design, programming conventions and hardware requirement. A thorough identification of the different system components was carried out and the incorporation of formulas and necessary functionality embedded.
The NIS has been fully operational since the beginning of 2004 and comprises Technical, Commercial, Financial and Personnel data. Taking into consideration the different requirements of the system, the NIS offers different capability at NWASCO and provider level. Prior to installation at the CUs, the relevant personnel were trained by NWASCO and their observations incorporated into the final design. The provider version of the system was installed at all the Commercial Utilities (CUs).
The CUs submit electronic files generated by the system to NWASCO. This file is uploaded into the NWASCO version of the system and reports generated immediately for analysis of indicators. At no point do the CUs or NWASCO have to perform manual verification of data. The NIS incorporates its own data verification and validation. Reports generated by the system are used to produce charts that form the core of the annual comparative performance Urban and Peri-Urban WSS Sector Report, which is disseminated to all stakeholders.
Since its initial implementation, the NIS has undergone a modification process to include the new accounting and revised water quality guidelines. Further and following the Devolution Trust Fund (DTF) baseline study of peri-urban areas, the commercial section has been broken down to require reporting at area level as opposed to aggregated data. This ensures that providers report more accurate figures that will aid in identifying critical intervention points.