The Chairman & Managing Director of Vishvaraj Infrastructure Limited – Arun Lakhani says “Currently, the industrial sector, which is one of the biggest consumers of water, is supplied fresh treated potable water. They can easily use waste water treated up to the secondary level. As much as 80% of the water being supplied to cities is right there. It only needs to be treated and supplied to industries. Good potable water that industries get can be swapped for residential and drinking purposes.”
With the understanding and sensitivity towards Indian culture, VIL India sees huge opportunities by improvising processes and effectively implementing the 4P model with the addition of a 4th P i.e. People —the citizens at large. In our opinion no industry model can be sustainable in the long run without benefiting and involving the chief stakeholder i.e. the people. Our insistence on benefits to all stakeholders, ability to structure the proposals accordingly, flexibility and management skills, sensitivity towards Indian culture resulted in the successful acquisition, assimilation and execution of various such projects. I foresee an extremely exciting future for VI L and can confidently state that we shall be the thought leaders in our chosen domain.
Nagpur’s smart water management also known as Nagpur 24×7 is an example for other cities across India. A special train carried around five lakh litres of water for parched Latur in Maharashtra’s Marathwada region in April this year. The first batch of 10 wagons, each with a capacity of around 50,000 litres, travelled a distance of around 350 kilometres to reach their destination where water was stored in a well located near the Latur railway station. While these steps are necessary, such measures might not have been required in the first place had these cities managed their water systems well. And with the smart cities list being announced, it’s time these cities took a smart look at their water management systems.
The first city to take the lead is Nagpur, Maharashtra. Now included in the smart cities list, it has a population of over 2.5 million people and is the first city of its size in the country to outsource water supply to a private operator under the PPP model for 25 years. Under the scheme the main objective was to provide 24-hour 100% safe drinking water to 100% population including slum dwellers within five years. The second objective was to reduce non-revenue water (50% water supplied to towns which is untraceable, not recorded and not paid for) to below 25% in 10 years. The project included management of the entire water cycle from production, treatment, transport, storage and delivery to the customer’s tap. It involved replacement of over three lakh house service connections, rehabilitation of treatment facilities, service reservoirs and pipelines.
The aim of the project was to address problems of water that was being wasted and not getting billed. The city was supplying 575 million litres per day (mld) of treated water of which only 175 mld was getting billed and paid for. Most meters were either non-existent or non functional. Also, the city was receiving water supply for eight to 10 hours or on alternate days. The tanker mafia added to the problem. On the sewage side, the city was generating 550 mld of sewage and had the capacity to treat only 100 mld. The remaining untreated sewage was polluting water bodies that supplied water to the city.