Water Supply

New Water Meter Testing Centre for Belgrade

By strengthening the water utilities in their combat against water loss and water squandering, KfW contract winner EWT hits another strategic milestone in SE Europe

Like many other towns and cities in Serbia and South East Europe, Belgrade has been fighting the water losses from its distribution system and the squandering of water for many years. Defective or non-calibrated water meters pose a serious problem, also reducing the efficiency and revenues of water utilities.

Introducing a modern water supply system requires three developmental steps:installation of water meters that comply with Western standards; datalogging of zone meters and comparison of data with domestic service lines to trace water losses resulting from leakage in a specific area; and installation of modern water meter repair and calibration centres.

Belgrade has more than 130,000 domestic water meters (Vienna, by comparison, has roughly 90,000 domestic water meters) and 4,000 large non-domestic water meters, which for several years have been undergoing a continuous upgrade by the local waterworks. The Austrian specialist EWT, winner of various international tenders, has supplied the Belgrade water utilities with 25,000 domestic meters and zone meters to date.

Since repairing and recalibrating a water meter is definitely cheaper than buying a new one, international funding agencies, such as the German KfW Entwicklungsbank, are also seeking to promote the installation and modernisation of water meter repair centres. In addition to funding water projects in the Serbian cities of Novi Sad, Nis and Kragujevac, KfW also awarded such a tender for Belgrade last year. The aim of the project, which was prepared and executed by a German consulting firm, was to install a new water meter repair centre at the Belgrade water utilities.

ELIN Wasserwerkstechnik GesmbH (EWT) was awarded this contract in late 2006. For project manager Gottfried Sampl, EWT’s success not only results from the quality of its own services but is also due to input from it Novi Sad-based partner INDAS, a company that has worked together closely with EWT on many previous Serbian projects.

From Serbia’s close proximity to the former Austro-Hungarian Empire stems an old regulation still valid today requiring water meters to be gauged at five-year intervals. The new project, which was initiated on 31st January and shall be completed by the end of July, will put the Belgrade water utilities in a position to match this requirement for 35,000 – 50,000 domestic water meters annually!

The necessary tools and building components are exclusively supplied by the Hydrometer Group (belonging to the DIEHL concern), of which also EWT has been an affiliate since 2001. Says Gottfried Sampl: “In our Vienna headquarters, all 21 ‘bills’ or subgroups are refined, attuned to each other and coordinated for subsequent processing by INDAS.”

Apart from being in charge of the overall planning, the Viennese experts also supply the centrepiece, the domestic water meter testing units, and the manuals needed for their seamless operation. Needless to say the colleagues in Belgrade also require training in the new technology. “The six Serbian technicians who participated in training courses at EWT Vienna as well as in the water utilities of Budweis, Marburg and Vienna all successfully concluded their training on 12th May,” Sample says. “They are now going to pass their know-how on to the other 11 auxiliary workers in Belgrade. The last part of the training will take place at the new testing centre and comprise hands-on practice at the respective units.”

As said before, INDAS is in charge of on-site planning and execution. This in particular comprises the installation of the water meter testing units, software installation, and full pressure increase up to 400 m3/h including pipe laying. The company is, of course, fully licensed to carry out the relevant services in Serbia. One essential criterion for KfW-funded projects is that the recipient also makes a contribution to the project. In this specific case, the building which the Belgrade water utilities contributed to the project is actually three times the value required in the tender documents!

The new repair centre will soon help the Belgrade water utilities to some extra revenues badly needed for carrying out further revitalisation measures. For IAWD founding member EWT, the concluded deal is another SEE project of strategic importance, as EWT chief executive Michael Hradecky points out. He is convinced that this will also boost EWT in competing for a series of tenders which KfW is going to launch this year to upgrade water management in medium-sized cities in Serbia. 
(Source: aqua press Int. 2/2007, Mag. Christof Hahn)

Contact & Information:

ELIN Wasserwerkstechnik GesmbH
GF M. Hradecky
Tel.: ++43/1/716 70-22

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