Bauchi State Water Board (BSWB) with the support of USAID/Sustainable Water and Sanitation in Africa (SUWASA) has conducted a customer database eneumeration exercise that has discovered 23,000 customers not listed in the utility’s record for Bauchi town.
The exercise has revealed that the number of illegal connections is far much more than the registered ones and as such BSWB is not collecting payments for the service it delivers to most consumers.
Almost 40,000 customers were enumerated under the customer database enumeration exercise in Bauchi town, as against 17,000 in the utility’s records.
The General Manager of the Water Board Engineer Aminu Aliyu Gital says, ” the customer database ‘will eventually enable the Board to be autonomous, and ease the financial burden of the state government. The Water Board’s billing efficiency has been extremely low because most customers in its old database could not be reached or identified, so bills produced were wasted. But with the new database, bills will be produced more accurately and delivered to the precise locations of their owners, making follow-up easier”
The coding system – uses the satellite imagery of the town, a specially designed enumeration form and a computer program developed in Microsoft Access. This is particularly suited to Bauchi municipalities, where houses are not numbered and most streets are not officially named.
According to Engineer Aminu Aliyu Gital, the data from this exercise is also expected to assist in the planning for future expansion of the pipe network so as to reach more residents in the State’s urban areas and will facilitate specific queries targeted at addressing particular requirements essential for planning:
“With an updated customer database, the Water Board will increase its revenue, regularize illegal connections, and ultimately, achieve autonomy in delivering sustainable services.The exercise is significant at this stage of transition of the Water Board from a public utility that is fully dependent on government subsidy for its capital and operational costs, to a corporation that has full autonomy, and operates based on commercial principles.BSWB staff will be trained on how to carry out the exercise to ensure an enduring system of updating the customer database is firmly in place.”