Engaging communities to improve water supply
At SUEZ, we believe in delivering the best service to our customers and introducing the best practices in our project areas. As a global leader in environmental services, we believe we must adapt our activities to social and environmental concerns.
Understanding the expectations different communities have from the project will enable us to set goals and draw up plans aligned to their needs. Our engagement in the operation area is not limited to consultation with the stakeholders, but ensuring their participation and partnership will allow us to create better services for them.
For any water distribution project to succeed, it is crucial that it collaborates with its stakeholders and communities effectively. It not only ensures that negative issues and forces are adequately taken care of but also leverages the potential of the positive contribution that individuals or groups can make to the project.
Today, the stakeholder engagement module is very dynamic. With the advancement of technology, increased literacy levels, access to information, lesser time at disposal, the stakeholder engagement and communication strategies have undergone a sea of change. It is more scientific, and objective driven today.
Before the commencement of the project, several rounds of meetings were held with the Resident Welfare Associations (RWAs), public representatives, and other relevant stakeholders to understand and assess their needs and expectations. Based on these meetings a stakeholder communication plan was developed, which ensured extensive participation of the community. A campaign, called ‘Let’s work together to make it better’ was launched to further emphasize the role of community for the success of our project. The campaign included:
- Regular meetings with public and private representatives to inform and educate consumers on various benefits that this project offers, ensure cooperation from the community, for instance, pipeline extension and repair, educate the community on water conservation to minimize per capita consumption, and improvement in collection efficiency.
- Communication materials, both in the local language and English, on role of community in water conservation, educative and advisory posters in customer care centers, etc.
- Workshops and training for the community, aiming at engaging women and children, especially during summer vacation, holidays, etc. Such workshops were also organized during the launch of 24/7 water supply program where the role of community was even more crucial. These workshops facilitated:
-Training of the communities to do a self-water audit for their households
- Creating a pool of volunteers for door-to-door surveys checking leakages in households and conducting a water audit in their locality
- Sensitizing community-related to wastage of water
- Collecting water use data from households
- Collecting community concerns to update our FAQs list
- Involving the community in the inauguration of pipeline extension and other works
- Launched a website for consumers where they can register their complaints and post their queries.
- Regular circulars were distributed as and when required to inform about work plan in meter installation and house connection, deviation in water supply hours, etc
At MNWS project, stakeholders’ dialogue proved to be beneficial in improving the services. Active engagement of communities brought all the stakeholders on a common platform and created synergy for a common goal.