Water for Indian cities - Government practices and policy concerns - Issue Brief - Observer Research Foundation

This brief from the Observer Research Foundation highlights the issues involved in improving urban water supply in India.

The urban expansion in India has not been met by a similar expansion in infrastructure and basic services. This has severely affected the quality of urban life and economic growth.

The paper follows a case study approach and examines the status of water supply service in Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata. An array of indicators, namely those specified by the Census of India and JNNURM are taken into consideration. The case studies examine the mechanism of collection, purification, and distribution of water in each of the three cities as well as status of water supply and collection of water dues. 

The major issues identified include

  • Large demand-Supply Gap (MGD)
  • Water losses due to leakages
  • Significant proportion of non-revenue water
  • Unaccounted flow of water due to non-functional meters
  • Intra-urban disparities with inadequate supply of water to poor communities
  • Intermittent supply and poor quantities supplied
  • Low cost recovery
  • Poor maintainance of structures
  • Lack of adequate manpower and institutional capacity
  • Lack of private sector involvement
  • Poor financial management
  • Lack of appropriate data and information

The paper argues that there exists an immediate need to build up the water infrastructure and institutions to meet the growing water needs of the population, and points out that the challenge for stakeholders lies in speeding up the reform process and in the replication/implementation of efficient water governance practices.

Read the entire paper here

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