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Increasing Inclusive Access to Potable Water Supply Through Phased Project Implementation

Pimpri, India
August 3, 2016

CDIA Intervention: NOV/2010 – APR/2011

Sector: Water Supply

CDIA Support: US$ 388,091

Estimated Investment Value: US$ 66.4 million


Accessible to the major cities of Mumbai and Pune, the twin cities of Pimpri and Chinchwad in Maharashtra, India are among of the busiest business hubs in the country. With a population of 1.7 million, the twin cities are known for their textile and food industries. Urbanization pressure has put a significant toll on basic services and this is manifested in the access and quality of potable water supply. Some areas in the city have water supply twice a day, while others only get water once a day for a few hours. The supply is inequitable resulting in regular complaints of low pressure and uneven distribution timings.

Service delivery among the responsible agencies was fragmented. For the water supply division, the service delivery, the revenue management offices and the pumping machinery for production offices were all operating independently.

Cost recovery was among the challenges encountered. The water tariff of 2.5 Rs./kiloliter combined with poor meter reading, billing, and collection, meant that Operations and Management cost recovery was only 57 percent. The Pimpri Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC) was setting its lifeline consumption very high (30 KL), which allowed middle and high-income groups to benefit the most, and introduced no incentives to conserve water.

Lessons Learned

  1. Identify and address institutional gaps. Most of these concerned local policy, organizational, management and human resource issues rather than infrastructure or financing.
  2. Boost and maintain municipal financial health. It is very important to be able to access additional grants from external financing sources. Of the city’s entire receipts, less than 2% constitute grants from the State Government and more than 98% constitute own-source income.
  3. Create medium-term business plans. There is value in medium-term-, sector-specific business plans which link investments to service level targets. This was further augmented by introducing National Service Level Benchmarks (SLBs) which shifted the focus to service delivery.
  4. Phase the projects. Phasing the project implementation ensures that institutional strengthening and capacity development go hand in hand with infrastructure development, and it directs implementers to prioritize for piloting the more marginalized sectors in the society

Response and Innovation

Yamunanagar, an area comprising impoverished neighborhoods, sent the most number of complaints regarding water supply. This is the site where the PCMC implemented a pilot project of water supply available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, known as 24×7. This was among the outcomes of a Business Plan developed through a 2012 CDIA-supported Pre-Feasibility Study (PFS) on Water Supply, and Sewerage and Drainage. The Business Plan emphasized services to the urban poor, environmental sustainability, and institutional governance.

As the population grew, PCMC developed its water supply in general, and distribution systems in phases. The Business Plan and PFS were prepared under the guidance of a PCMC Steering Committee which included the Municipal Commissioner, the Joint City Engineer (Project Nodal Officer), and Executive Engineers for Water, Sewerage and Drainage (S&D) along with the JnNURM Coordinator.

The approach is based on the Government of India’s policy and strategy framework for urban infrastructure and services, especially the National Service Level Benchmarks.

The Business Plan identified the improvement measures required to achieve and sustain service level targets, along with cost analysis, and decisions concerning organizational and human resource issues and financing. The response of the city was pro-active. The city:

  • Introduced a controlling and monitoring mechanism at its own cost known as the Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA). This system helped eliminate human error and interference causing unequal distribution in water supply.
  • Recruited 25 Junior Engineers for its different existing water supply zones, and trained them on the latest technology. Two engineers were also sent for intensive 2- month training courses at the Maharashtra Jeevan Pradhikaran (MJP) Nashik, Maharashtra.
  • Introduced a controlling and monitoring mechanism at its own cost known as the Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA)This system helped eliminate human error and interference causing unequal distribution in water supply.
  • Set various national and international visits for water supply staff to Surat, Hyderabad, Vijayawada, Ahmedabad, Delhi, Mumbai and Algeria, Israel, respectively.
  • Established 4 different teams to control non-revenue water within the city.

The PCMC worked on integrating information systems, data collection, collation, and analysis. Among its lofty goals is to have an updated, dynamic asset inventory for water supply and S&D and GIS- based maps that are accurate, and to regularly communicate to the citizens PCMC’s plans, activities, and performance.

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