American Society of Civil Engineers

Financial and Operational Performance Assessment of Water/Wastewater Utilities: Comparative Study

by Amr A. G. Hassanein, (corresponding author), (Assoc. Prof., Dept. of Constr. Engrg., The American Univ. in Cairo, Cairo, Giza 12311, Egypt E-mail: and Reham A. Khalifa, (MSc Candidate, Dept. of Constr. Engrg., The American Univ. in Cairo, Cairo, Giza 12311, Egypt)

Journal of Infrastructure Systems, Vol. 14, No. 4, December 2008, pp. 283-292, (doi:

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Document type: Journal Paper
Abstract: The water and wastewater sector is currently placed among infrastructure utilities of significance. A key problem with most water and wastewater utilities is the absence of performance assessment tools. This research focuses on the calculation of a group of financial and operational indicators for a sample size of 234 public and private sector utilities from developed and developing countries. These indicators are then used to depict the performance of public versus peer private sector water and wastewater utilities, as well as the performance of Egyptian utilities compared to the remaining companies in the sample. The results furnished by the group of indicators included in the study revealed the resemblance in some performance aspects between water and water/wastewater utilities in Egypt and the remaining developing countries. However, a significant gap was noticed between Egypt and the United States. On the other hand, the study revealed that U.S. and U.K. private-sector water and water/wastewater utilities demonstrated better values compared to the remaining public-sector utilities in some indicators such as the asset turnover ratio and the tariffs charged for water services. In the meantime, the percentage of unaccounted for water and the debt to equity ratio were other indicators that experienced no advantage in private over public sector utilities.

ASCE Subject Headings:
Financial factors
Private sector
Wastewater management
Water management