Reportedly daily protests in Khandwa, near Bhopal, against the privatization part of a 24×7 plan. Dissent in Mangalore by various groups. Also in Visakhapatnam over plans to close down public taps. Positive article in the Economic Times by the former secretary of the ministry of urban development regarding the potential of PPPs for 24×7 water supply across India.
Surat preparing for 24×7, reportedly planning on providing to recently resettled urban poor first.
Professor Asit Biswas stated, during a visit to Nagpur, that 24×7 water a good solution for “cheap” and “good quality” water (quotes from the ToI article, not necessarily from him). The article also includes more details of the 24×7 project by OCWL in Nagpur, including 30% of pipes to be replaced and supply to 3 lakh (300,000) households. Prof. Biswas also stated huge distribution system losses – citing 60% in Delhi – as the main factor for lack of 24×7.
ToI points out that this time of year in which more consumers in Mumbai complain of water quality problems (the newspaper looked at complaint records, a shockingly low 167 over 3 months in all of Mumbai). BMC states that it is unlikely they will need to cut water supplies this summer because of high enough levels in the source lakes. Hindustan Times reports that the areas from Mulund to Vikhroli are getting 24×7, with it extending to eastern suburbs as of last week and, soon to Ghatkopar and Kurla. I’m still surprised that I’ve seen so few details on how this was implemented (normalization of connections, installation of meters, repairing pipes, etc), but perhaps I just haven’t looked hard enough.
New 24×7 proposals and discussions (with rather rapid timetables!): Panaji says 24×7 for them in 3 years once water treatment plants are completed (but no specific 24×7 management plan), while Guwahati says four years (with a pilot in East Guwahati with ADB and Japanese bank funding assistance), and a small mention of a planned pilot of 24×7 in Thane. Visakhapatnam cleared the 24×7 project to be completed in two years.
Expansion of 24×7 planned in the budget of Karnataka that was recently approved which included 1700 crore to expand Hubli-Dharwad, Belgaum, and Gulbarga’s 24×7 and 146 crore for Mangalore’s. Nagpur’s JNNURM project for 24×7 is reportedly 68% done for the pilot areas and 1% done for the city (I’m not sure what that percent quite means).
The dry season is heating up with reports of reduced water availability around the country. In Pune, construction sites will no longer get water, but more dramatically a newspaper in Mangalore announced that the nearby dam had only 9 day’s supply of water. According to this article, it suggests that some of the problems with achieving 24×7 in Mangalore have been due to a reduced budget which did not allow for rehabilitation of old pipelines, leading to high leakage rates especially in transmission lines.
Housing societies in Ahmedabad have apparently taken it upon themselves to install water meters to encourage conservation – reportedly using less water and reducing down their electricity bill. Debate still ongoing about installing meters in Pune.
Also, in attempting to start collecting leakage rates in various cities:
Indian Express has an article on Amravati, Maharashtra, wich reportedly provides 24×7 water to its 40,000 residents (covering 4 of the 16 city zones). The article also mentions what seems to be potential 24×7 in Badlapur, east of Mumbai, in a partnership between Maharashtra Jeevan Pradhikaran and the Malaysian Ranhill Utilities. The controversy continues in Mysore, and investigations planned in Nagpur regarding tariffs and 24×7 project there (the visit was supposed to happen March 1 but apparently has been postponed). Apparently Mulund in Mumbai now has 24×7 or feasibility plans (I can’t tell from the article if the feasibility plans have been done or if there actually is 24×7 supply now – does anyone know? It seems like from the DNA article that it’s not actually implemented yet), and is talking about extending it to Ghatkopar, Vikhroli, and Bhandup.
Mangalore is starting to close public taps, illegal connections, and meter connections in preparation for 24×7, and Pune is looking at installing meters, costing the plan right now, and conducting a water audit. ToI reminds us that in Nov of last year, the civi standing committee approved the 24×7 water supply scheme with the Italian consultant Studio Galli Ingegneria to make the plans.
Other related news, ToI notes that Nagpur is starting to try to collect arrears – estimated to be 70 crore ($14 million USD), noting that each year cost recovery has decreased – by keeping offices open longer.
There have been some great articles in the ToI and India Express this month about water management in cities in India. ToI looks at the water crisis in Bangalore using examples from several places in the city. Electronic City, who say they even are having trouble with obtaining supplies from tankers and purchased borewell water and are asking consumers to cut back. Residents in Sarjapur (where I usually stay when I’m in Bangalore!), completely depend on tankers (since there is no BWSSB pipelines here) who have been changing their prices, and another residential area, Whitefield, have 24×7 if they are in gated communities (not clear where that comes from) but use water tankers outside of the gated communities. Interestingly, an area of the city called Austin Town is expected not to have a big problem because of the presence of defense establishments nearby who harvest rainwater (I assume this means that many people in Austin Town are using borewell water).
I’m excited to see several reporters this month discussing water scarcity concerns in more detail than the usual ‘lack of sufficient monsoon rains’ that is too often seen at this time of year. ToI has a great article on Pune, where the utility has been cutting the water supply this summer and officials cite leakage and lost water as the reason. There are reportedly 11.5 TMC of water set aside for Pune, and 14TMC area drawn from the reservoirs, however, officials cite losses and management problems as the reason for cuts, with various finger-pointing as to whose responsibility it is to reduce UAW (reportedly at 40%). The article goes on to talk about the role of water theft, sewage treatment, quotas from the reservoirs, and rainwater harvesting and their options and problems for mitigating the problems, and a review of some of the past measures put forth and shelved in the past (the reporter did a great job giving the problem of urban water scarcity the complex analysis it requires, far above many other articles I’ve seen in Indian newspapers – definitely check it out). Indian express has a good (if brief) interview with PMC Water Chief, where he discussing uncontrolled growth of the city and planned recycling of wastewater and reduction of leaks. Bangalore reports surface water depletion, particularly in small lakes, as development has changed land patterns and affected drainage. The Deccan Herald mentions that some people blame water scarcity on new developments. ToI reports problems in the Pench I4 project in Nagpur, which is supposed to increase capacity by 115 MLD by increasing pumping and water treatment plant capacity, and also potential threats to the current supply due to a new dam in AP – though it also mentions 50% UAW which would, if reduced, effectively increase the supply of water.
- While this is slightly old news that I missed out on previously, Malkapur, in Satara, Maharashtra has 24×7 water for all residents. From this article, it seems that the government of Maharashtra authorized an upgraded water supply in 2002, which was commissioned in 2005, and a new revision to the project to bring 24×7 with 100% metering and volumetric tariffs. Earlier in 2011 it was given the prime minister’s award for excellence in public administration.
- Gujarat is moving to 24×7 supply: Surat has plans for 24×7 supply with a first phase of 4,000 households starting in March, and a new planning document suggests piloting 24×7 for villages. According to the article, Gujarat had also planned a 24×7 metered water supply in 2008 though nothing happened.
- Proposals for 24×7 for several zones in Jaipur are ‘under consideration’, though the article states there is a pilot project in two parts of the city.
- Also under a JNNURM scheme, 24×7 is coming to Coimbatore, starting with old corporation areas. It seems a fair bit of upgrades with take place, including replacement of pipelines, new water tanks, and a new feeder main and distribution name.
Updates from previously mentioned cities:
Most of the 24×7 water supply news this month has been dominated by what appears to be fierce controversy in Nagpur.
Nagpur continues with its 24×7 supply project through privatization, despite opposition. Veolia has been the operator for the pilot project, but it seems that the scale-up operations will be handed to a different company, Orange City Water Limited. According to the ToI, the NMC has created a vehicle for the privatization arrangement called Nagpur Environmental Service Ltd, which will work in partnership with the OCWL.
As per agreement, OCWL will take over the entire work, from water treatment plants to billing, for a period of 25 years. The private operator will also execute 24×7 water supply project.
The handover does not appear to be going over smoothly, since only 35 of over 400 employees have agreed to work for NESL, so there are few experienced staff to help with the handover. The stand-off seems to be over as of today, with a rather strange arrangement where employees will stay with NMC and continue to operate the water ‘works’ while OWCL will operate the ‘water’ (the ToI explains this as clear as it can be with the liberal use of quotes in this article title), with a guarantee that areas will ‘receive water equally’ (equal time? equal water? equal pressure? How will they track this anyway?) within 7 months.
I have been poking around on the internets to figure out exactly who OCWL is, as it had been reported earlier this year that the 25-year contract would be awarded to Veolia. However, the name OCWL appears to come up only in reference to Nagpur (I’m doubting a relation to Orange City, FL). Veolia in India usually operates under the name Veolia Water India Private Limited, as far as I know. Who is OCWL? Do they operate anywhere else? Are they an Indian company?
It seems, looking to other 24×7 projects accomplished through privatization, that it could be possible to retrain plumbers and incorporate them into the operation. I believe this is what is being done in Hubli, where plumbers can get certified in the “modern” methods needed for any new types of technology.
A less controversial 24×7 project has been approved for Pune with an Italian company.
The consultant is supposed to execute all steps of the project from preparing detailed project report (DPR) to completion and maintenance of the project. The consultant will provide service for 11 years, including five-and-a-half years of preparing DPR and implementation of the project.
In the first phase, the consultant should prepare DPR, conduct basic water audit, detect distribution losses and get approval to the DPR from authorities. In the second phase, the consultant is supposed to prepare tenders for the project and ensure implementation of the project in five years.
In the third phase, the consultant is supposed to ensure repairing and maintenance, to prevent distribution losses, to increase number of water treatment plants and to increase automation. Bidkar said that the consultant is supposed to take into account problems in water supply in the next three decades.
There doesn’t appear to be a pilot project in Pune, but it seems this is a new approach where the company will first operate water supply and then upgrade it, as opposed to other ones (Karnataka, Nagpur) where the company is brought in specifically to upgrade to 24×7.