How can Ukrainian water utility Lvivvodokanal optimise its services? And how can its German partners provide support? The German-Ukrainian utility partnership took the answers to these questions as the basis for drawing up an ambitious work plan. The focus is not exclusively on technical subjects.
Lvivvodokanal is owned by the City of Lviv in western Ukraine and is the largest water supply and sanitation utility in the region. Its catchment area is home to around 730,000 people and 10,000 companies. Lvivvodokanal operates a water supply network of around 2,500 kilometres in length. The city’s drainage system consists of a 765 km-long sewerage network, 15 wastewater pump stations and two sewage treatment plants.
Stadtentwässerung Dresden GmbH provides wastewater collection, drainage and treatment services as well as conducting environmental analyses and planning and constructing wastewater infrastructure. The company serves around 670,000 customers in eastern Saxony. With some 400 employees, annual turnover of EUR 85 million and an annual investment budget of around EUR 30 million, it is one of the largest utilities in the sector.
Berliner Wasserbetriebe is responsible for water supply and wastewater management services in Berlin and parts of Brandenburg. It sold 220 million cubic metres of water in 2019. The drainage network comprises almost 10,000 kilometres of sewers. Berliner Wasserbetriebe is wholly owned by the Federal State of Berlin (Land Berlin).
The income Lvivvodokanal earns from water and wastewater charges is barely sufficient to cover the costs of operating the pipe system, the sewage treatment plants and other diverse facilities. The partners therefore want to produce guidelines on how best to calculate realistic charges. Based on the guidelines, Lvivvodokanal aims to initiate a dialogue with the policymakers who set the charges.
Lvivvodokanal and the German water utilities face similar difficulties in terms of meeting the demand for experts. The average age of company staff is between 55 and 65. Wages are generally low, and the job profiles have little appeal for young people with qualifications. The utilities are therefore discussing how to create employee retention incentives and to present their companies in the best light to applicants.
At Lvivvodokanal, the personnel costs for the upkeep of the sewerage network are very high. It follows that there are also considerable cost-saving potentials. The utilities are planning to hold technical training courses, for example on reducing water losses, maintaining quality standards and processing sewage sludge. The participants from Lviv are to be trained as multipliers who can then disseminate their newly acquired knowledge more widely. Sustainable investments and a modern infrastructure management system could enable Lvivvodokanal to save a great deal of energy. Taking a pumping station and a sewage treatment plant as an example, the partners intend to develop the framework for a sound investment strategy and for an infrastructure management system that is in line with needs and secure over the long term.
The utilities have established a standardised procedure for all of these work areas: together, they will analyse and evaluate the current situation at Lvivvodokanal as a basis for developing proposals for joint activities. The roadmap, which includes a schedule and toolbox, has been established and the objectives clearly defined. The operational phase was launched in January 2021, for the time being online due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Enterprises cannot ‘not have’ an impact. Stadtentwässerung Dresden therefore wants to work with Lvivvodokanal and put the wastewater management system in Lviv on a more sustainable footing. We would like to share our know-how and benefit from the know-how of our partners in Lviv. Their tendering system, for example, is very interesting. The experience we have gained in projects in Ukraine, Jordan and Viet Nam will be very helpful for us in this long-term partnership.”
Willy Lenk, Marketing and Sales Officer, Stadtentwässerung Dresden
“In addition to our comprehensive work packages, we have already established a good working level rapport and received many practical tips from our colleagues in Dresden, Berlin and Cologne. After all, we are facing similar problems. The crucial point is that our experts, together with the German utilities, are ready to embrace innovation and change – this is the only way to sustainably improve our water supply and wastewater management systems.”
Volodymyr Bilynskyy, Deputy Chief Engineer, Lvivvodokanal
Lvivvodokanal, Lviv, Ukraine
Stadtentwässerung Dresden (Lead-partner)
Berliner Wasserbetriebe (Participating partner)
Stadtentwässerungsbetriebe Köln (Participating partner)
Key thematic areas
Optimising infrastructure and processes