Wednesday, 4 March 2015

Introduction to water utility regulation

For the first time ever, in February 2015 REKK and ERRA organised a one-week water utility training course. The training was aimed at both new and practicing water utility regulators. Following the tradition of REKK/ERRA common courses, presentations were mixed with case studies and group assignments. 26 participants from 13 countries took part in the course.

The course was organised around the following themes:
  • Water utility economics
  • Principles and institutions of water utility regulation
  • Tariff setting
  • Performance benchmarking
  • New developments and emerging issues in water utility regulation

Monday, 26 May 2014

World Bank - IAWD - GIZ 2014 Danube Water Conference

At the World Bank - IAWD - GIZ 2014 Danube Water Conference on 9 May 2014 Mr. Péter Kaderják, the director of REKK gave the introductory presentation before the panel discussion of the Hungarian water utility sector reform. Mr. Kaderják reviewed the problems that triggered the reform in the late 2000's, described the reform initiative of the government, and summarised what progress has taken place since the 2011 adoption of the Water Utility Act. The presentation was followed by a lively discussion of the panelists and the audience.

The presentation can be downloaded from here.
More on the conference is at:

Wednesday, 7 May 2014

Developing and applying a water utility tariff modell for Hajduviz, a Hungarian water utility serving 64 municipalities.

With the help of the model we assisted the utility in distributing the central costs of the company among municipalities, devising cost recovering tariffs, experimenting with various tariff designs (combinations of fixed and variable tariffs) and assessing the impacts of changes in the service area. 

Linking water management to economic growth

REKK provided Hungary specific policy advice and analysis to the multi-country project of the Regional Environmental Centre, culminating in a study prepared to the European Commission on the possibility of a water policy that also contributes to economic recovery.

Tuesday, 6 May 2014

Natural Water Retention Measures

It is one of our ongoing projects Aqua.Rekk contributes to.
Natural Water Retention Measures (NWRM) are measures that aim to safeguard and enhance the water storage potential of landscape, soils and aquifers, by restoring ecosystems, natural features and characteristics of water courses, and by using natural processes. They are green infrastructure solutions and they support adaptation, reducing vulnerability of water resources.

The NWRM initiative is a project of DGENV for collaboratively building knowledge and promoting best practice on Natural Water Retention Measures in Europe. You can find the key concepts used and resources to help you develop your own measures in the official site of the project . Progressively you will find a catalogue of case studies along with a practical guide to implement NWRMs.

Monday, 5 May 2014


Evaluating Economic Policy Instruments for Sustainable Water Management in Europe 2011-2013

A sustainable management of water resources has a potential to tackle water-related natural hazard and climate risks, and at the same time alleviate communities from poverty. In this context, Economic Policy Instruments (EPIs) can help to make water allocation more efficient, water supply more reliable, and water-related risks pressures easier manageable. Furthermore, it can help achieving the environmental objectives of water policy in a cost-effective manner.

The main aims of the EPI-Water project were
- to assess the effectiveness and the efficiency of Economic Policy Instruments in achieving water policy goals, and
- to identify the preconditions under which they complement or perform better than other (e.g. regulatory) policy instruments.

The hompage of the project, provides a detailed source of the work done during the research. 
The guide to enhance the use of EPIs is a synthesis of the program, while the ex-post and ex-ante case studies are the backbone of the work. These are accessible at the "Public Deliverables".

Our main product was the ex-ante case study on Floods and water logging in the Tisza River basin.

For the efficient dissemination of the results we prepared a series of Hungarian language documents that tackle the questions and the potential use of EPIs in case of the most relevant water policy challenges that Hungary faces: floods, droughts and the constraints on land use change the could mitigate them.

GHG emission pathways of wastewater management

In this project we analysed the current and forecasted future emissions of the wastewater sector of Hungary based on trends of wastewater collection and treatment, as well as the projected generation and utilisation of biogas from sewage sludge. Our research was part of a larger REKK project on GHG emission scenarios of the Hungarian economy.

Danube - waterway development CBA

How to step forward?
By 2006, the Hungarian-Slovak intergovernmental negotiations, aimed at implementing the 1997
ruling of the International Court of Justice on the Gabcikovo-Nagymaros Project, appeared to
reach a stalemate. As a last resort, on 5 October 2006 the parties agreed to prepare a Mutual
Environmental Study. Over the course of 2007 and 2008, the parties consulted on further details of
the Study and established a bilateral Steering Committee to oversee the preparation of the study.
At the end of 2008, the Hungarian government allocated the necessary financial resources, and
research in the Hungarian sector was commenced in early 2009. Although the analysis focused
predominantly on examining the hydrological and ecological aspects of rehabilitation in the
Szigetköz, the scope of the study extended to the entire waterway route section of the River
Danube financed by investment from the Gabcikovo-Nagymaros (Bős-Nagymaros ) project. As part
of the study, a cost-benefit analysis was carried out that compared the implications and consequences of other river regulating measures to those of the Gabcikovo-Nagymaros Barrage System Plan.

This paper will condense down and summarize the findings of a number of previous studies, focusing on the implications for inland water transportation planning. As opposed to the narrower scope of previous studies, the aim of this paper is to present a broader, more coherent report; one that places more emphasize on inland water transport, ultimately aiding more informed decision making in relation to the integrated use of the River Danube.

WFD implementation in Hungary

In the preparation phase of the implementation of the Water Framework Directive in Hungary Aqua.REKK contributed to the work of the Economics Task Group that developed the national WBMP.

In a multidisciplinary team of experts our role was the development and test of a methodology and a related decision-support system to develop a cost-effective programme of measures  in order to reach good water status as defined by the WFD. The decision-support system has been tested on several sub basins in Hungary.

Our activities also included developing proposals for the horizontal economic instruments (Background studies to the 7th chapter):
- Connection points of WDF goals and the local water management problems - status of the agricultural water service;
- Proposal to upgrade the water resource fee;
- Economic instruments to foster the creation of the water protection areas;

(The Hungarian language documents can be accessed here)

Benchmarking Club of Mavíz

The Benchmarking Club of the Hungarian Waterworks Association was founded in 2007. While water and wastewater service providers had for some time already been planning to start process benchmarking in Hungary, the impetus came after the IBNET benchmarking survey was successfully completed and participating companies could start to compare their performance to that of their peers.

The feedback from the IBNET survey was appreciated by the participating companies as well as the officers of the Hungarian Waterworks Association. Besides receiving useful results, the IBNET benchmarking exercise also served as an example showing how a benchmarking process can be executed in practice.

The IBNET survey was a good start, but some of the companies wanted to go even further. They sought to collect additional data, some of it rather country-specific, compute additional indicators, and start an actual exchange of best practices. Thus, in early 2007, the Benchmarking Club was founded.

REKK provided the technical background for the data collection and quality control, it generated the indicators and provided economic analysis about the sector based on the synthesized information.

Our summary about the experiences of the first years of the activity can be accessed here.

REC Priority Environmental Investment Project in CEE

Within this project we assessed the financial and operational reform options of water and wastewater utilities in the Western Balkan (Croatia, Montenegro, Bosnia Herzegovina, Serbia, Macedonia, Albania). In collaboration with the experts of REC a manual of reform options as well as workshop presentations were delivered. The manual can be downloaded from the following link: