This article by Makarand Purohit sheds light on the acute water scarcity experienced by Dewas, an industrial township in Madhya Pradesh
Dewas, an industrial township located 37 Kms north-east of Indore on the Malwa plateau in Madhya Pradesh, India has witnessed urban water crises since 1990s. Even after the up-gradation of Kshipra augmentation and distribution project, the access to water for the residents of Dewas town would remain a dream. On 26th January 2012, Dewas Municipal Corporation (DMC) has exhibited a model on republic day parade at Dewas in which DMC has exhibited that there are no water crises in the town and people in the town are getting adequate water for daily consumption. But in reality the so-called glamorous story is not that glamorous.
To meet the water demand in summer months every year, DMC’s dependency on procuring water from private sources had increased. From last several years DMC had been procuring water from Indore Municipal Corporation (IMC) and private tanker services. The water crises in Dewas town post 2000 was so acute that DMC had to knock the doors of the Madhya Pradesh High Court to order Indore Municipal Corporation (IMC) for supplying 5 MLD (Million Liters Per Day) water to Dewas.
As per the information provided by DMC, High Court in its order has mandated IMC to supply DMC 13 lakh gallon water per day (5.75 MLD) but IMC has provided only 2 MLD water to the DMC during the year 2010-11. From last three years,DMC had also started procuring water from privatised Dewas industrial water supply project.
According to provisional report of Census India 2011, the population of Dewas town is 2,89,438. As per the norms and standards of municipal basic services in India recommended by Central Public Health and Environmental Engineering Organisation (CPHEEO), water required per person per day for cities provided with piped water supply where sewerage system is existing /contemplated is 135 (lpcd) liters per capita per day. Therefore, for the entire population (approx. 57888 households) of Dewas town, the current water demand would be 39074.130 KL/ day (39 MLD).
As per the City Development Plan (CDP) of Dewas, present water supplied by DMC is only 10 MLD per day from various sources to the Dewas town, there is a deficit of 29 MLD as per current water need. This also means that DMC only supplies less than 40 lpcd which is far low from the CPHEEO standards. However, most of the houses in Dewas have their own private bore well connections. The water supplies of the households which have the higher financial capacity would reach in the range of 70 to 100 lpcd but for the poor it becomes difficult to meet even 50 lpcd requirement during peak summer.
To solve the water woes of the town, DMC had designed two projects to procure 55 MLD water for Dewas town at two locations - one was Lodhari augmentation project with 35 MLD augmentation capacity (23 Kms north east of Dewas towards Bhopal) and the other was Kshipra augmentation project with 20 MLD augmentation capacity (12 Kms from Dewas town).For Kshipra augmentation and distribution project, DMC had signed a loan agreement of Rs.20 crores with HUDCO under 13th Finance Commission and has also received financial help under 12th Finance Commission.
For Lodhari Project, DMC had initially applied for taking grants under a flagship central government sponsored scheme, Urban Infrastructure Development Scheme for Small and Medium Towns (UIDSSMT). But in the mean time there has been a delay on the work on the Kshipra project due to the cost escalation of the project. Due to this cost escalation, DMC had taken decision to drop the Lodhari project from UIDSSMT and instead revised the project proposal to gather funds under UIDSSMT to complete Kshipra augmentation and distribution project.
DMC had also shared this decision to the nodal agency of UIDSSMT and requested the nodal agency to consider its revised proposal. The reason stated for dropping Lodhari Project to the nodal agency, as per the UIDSSMT meeting minutes was: “if DMC has taken funds under UIDSSMT for Lodhari project then both Lodhari as well as Kshipra projects would not be complete on time".
The nodal agency for Madhya Pradesh has thus considered DMC’s decision and after revising the project cost from Rs. 98.11 crores to Rs. 58.37 crores, sanctioned the funds to DMC for completing Kshipra water augmentation and distribution project.
Now let us look at water supply situation of Dewas town once the Kshipra augmentation project gets implemented. The following table will give us the picture of total quantity of water DMC can probably supply after implementing Kshipra augmentation scheme:
Table: Total capacity of water resources of DMC after Kshipra Augmentation Scheme implementation
|Kshipra Augmentation Scheme
|Raja Nal Pond
|Tube Wells (groundwater)
|Indore Municipal Corporation
|Total water procured by DMC from above sources
Source: City Development Plan (CDP) for Dewas
From the above table it becomes clear that even after implementation of Kshipra augmentation scheme it would not be possible for DMC to meet 39 MLD current water demand of Dewas town and there would be a deficit of 12 MLD. Therefore the purpose of supplying adequate water to Dewas town remains incomplete after investing crores of public money and the dependency of DMC for procuring extra water from other private sources has increased.
As the Dewas town was only getting 5 MLD water from Kshipra barrage DMC decided that they will increase the augmentation capacity of Kshipra barrage from 5 MLD to 20 MLD without properly examining the past trends and experiences. Interestingly, the residents of Dewas from the last two decades observed that water in Kshipra river completely dries in the month of October-November. Moreover in every summer from last two decades DMC has been heavily dependent on other sources of water supply because there is no water available from Kshipra water resource. So the major question that remains unanswered is: without water being available in Kshipra River in the peak summer how the Kshipra augmentation project would help DMC to solve water crises of the town?
There are possibly two reasons that could have gone against the Lodhari project, in spite of the fact that it would supply greater amounts of water compared to Kshipra project – one, the project cost of Lodhari was high compared to Kshipra project and two the CDP mentioned it as being unreliable and suspicious source, in terms of providing sustainable water supply and recommended DMC to procure water from privatised sources like private industrial water supply project.
As per the Draft City Sanitation Plan for Dewas, January 2011, DMC proposes to increase water tax to Rs. 200 per household per month after the Kshipra augmentation and distribution project gets implemented, enabling the DMC to offer at least 70 lpcd. It proposes to charge Water Tax at Rs.13-14 per KL and supply about 15 KL per household per month. As a part of Rs. 20 crores loan agreement with HUDCO, DMC has committed HUDCO to increase its water tax. DMC also proposes to charge connection charges of Rs. 3000 per residential connection and Rs. 5000 per commercial connection ones Kshipra augmentation and distribution project gets implemented.
It is important to note that once Kshipra augmentation and distribution project begins its operation under UIDSSMT, it would become mandatory for DMC to recover full cost of operation and maintenance in seven years of implementation of UIDSSMT as mentioned under mandatory reforms implementation condition under UIDSSMT. Since 39% of Dewas town population lives in slums and do not have capacity to pay for the connection charges and water taxes, the extra financial burden on the weaker sections will hamper their access to water and affordability to a large extent.
Written by Makarand Purohit, a policy researcher working on water and health sector with Manthan Adhyayan Kendra, Badwani. The article was written for www.bizcovering.com [ http://bizcovering.com/business/dream-to-get-adequate-drinking-water-for-the-dewas-town-remains-a-dream/] and has been republished here.