Urban infrastructure is poised for some major changes in the country with the current trends of rising levels of urbanisation. However, both Urban Local Bodies (UBL) and water utilities are not fully prepared to meet with the challenge due to their dependence on old governance structures based on public management. What is required in the changing context is governance reform with change in their outlook and orientation, which requires a change in their structure, approach and functioning for giving better service performance.
Mumbai is one such large Indian city experiencing this situation due to its tilt towards public ownership and management of water supply. This paper gives an overview of water supply system functioning in Mumbai city and the outcomes first; it then suggests that an improvement in water supply service is possible in the city through reforming the service through institutional restructuring, better functioning and private sector participation. It also discusses successful examples that could be replicated in the city and also the learnings from the failures of such attempts.
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