Arun Lakhani’s view on Indian Urban Water Scenario
The rapidly urbanizing Indian population is expected to reach a figure close to 600 million urban people by 2031. This massive transition is creating serious challenges for urban planners and ULBs, especially which of ensuring quality water supply to these citizens. Indian cities have for long lived with intermittent water supply systems riddled with a variety of problems ranging from high levels of NRW to contamination issues. Some of the concerns with the urban water scenario are Non-Revenue Water ranging from 50 to 75%, Water supply coverage only about 64%, Intermittent Supply, Poor billing mechanism. Here’s what Mr. Arun Lakhani has to say as a solution to this situation several reforms have been initiated by the government which include introduction of performance linked PPP contracts, up gradation of existing ageing assets, 100% metering and efficient operation and maintenance of the supply system.
Water companies globally are developing technologies and management systems to deal with these challenges. Vishvaraj infrastructure limited (VIL) however understands that the Indian context is different and it needs solutions which are local, competitive and socially acceptable. We develop implementation strategies keeping local situation in perspective as water is a very sensitive subject in our country. For us, driving innovations, creating sustainability, technological advancements, environmental friendliness and people’s involvement are the key drivers for the company in this sector.
Nagpur 24x7 The Project: The 3rd largest city & winter capital of Maharashtra state, Nagpur is India’s loath largest city with a population of over 2.5 million people. It became the first city of its size in the country to outsource its water supply to a private operator under the PPP model for 25 years. The one big objective was to provide l00% safe drinking water 24×7 to l00% of the population including the slum-dwellers within 5 years. The second major objective was to reduce Non Revenue Water below 25% in 10 years time. The contract was awarded to Orange City Water Limited — a 50:50 joint venture SPV company incorporated with equal equity stake of Vishvaraj Environment Pvt. Ltd. and Veolia Water of France. The Private entity to bring in 3o% of the investment of the estimated project cost, 70% to be the Public entity’s contribution under MN URM + l00% escalation. The project to be operative for 25 years of O&M inclusive of 5 years of capital rehabilitation. The project covers management of the entire water cycle from production, treatment (657 MLD), transport (2100 Kms of network), storage and delivery to the last point of usage i.e. the customers tap. This involves replacement of more than 3,00,00 house service connections, rehabilitation of treatment facilities, service reservoirs and pipeline. Every household including slums to get individual continuous piped water supply connection. Involving people and to see their problems from their point view, is a key factor for the sustainable development in Water Sector especially through PPP. Therefore the concept of Citizen Engagement came into existence through various platforms. We are giving emphasis on communicating with all stakeholders for all our projects in water sector.