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.