“By 2030, the water industry will provide continuous quality water supply services to 100% of the existing urban and peri-urban residents of the inhabited areas”

Interview with Engineer Harry Sikoma of Western Consulting and speaker in the water track at the upcoming African Utility Week in Cape Town in May.

1. What in your view are the main challenges currently to the water industry in Africa?
The main challenges currently faced by the water industry in Africa are:

  • Over-dependence on government funding, thus hampering continuous improvement of service provision.
  • Strong political interference in the management of the water utilities.
  • Low recapitalization programmes (no capacity to invest in infrastructure renewal or expansion), rendering existing infrastructure becoming almost obsolete.
  • Poor management of the resource equation.

 2. What is your vision for this industry?
By 2030, the water industry will provide continuous quality water supply services to 100% of the existing urban and peri-urban residents of the inhabited areas through improved overall corporate performance and implementation of investment plans for water supply infrastructure. Inhabitants in informal areas (shanty compounds and slums) will have access to safe and clean water supply through alternative appropriate technologies such as water kiosks and public stand taps for water supply.

3. Tell us more about your organisation and your activities in the utility industry?
Western Consulting is a company engaged in the provision of water, sanitation and quality management solutions for sustained growth of water and sanitation utilities. Its activities include: strategic planning, water supply system design, water infrastructure management, water demand re-design and water balance configuration, sanitation design and management and implementation of quality management systems in water and sanitation utilities (ISO 9000, ISO 26000 and ISO 55000).

4. You are part of the conference programme at this year’s African Utility Week in May, what will be your message?
Beyond the 2015 Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the water industry must strive to achieve sustained financial levels that will provide continuity of service delivery and ensure continuous provision of safe and clean water and sanitation to the population of served; this will in turn create a constituency of loyal and satisfied customers.

5. What are you most looking forward to at African Utility Week?
I am looking forward to professional interactions with industry experts and making new business contacts.

6. Anything you would like to add?
Business continuity and sustainability in the water industry depends on the balancing of the resource equation: [Sustainable SERVICE DELIVERY] = [Right HUMAN RESOURCE] + [Appropriate TECHNOLOGY] + [Adequate FINANCIAL RESOURCE] + [Correct MATERIALS].