Need experiences and best practices on water demand management in cities in Madhya Pradesh

From Aniruddhe Mukerjee, United Nations Human Settlements Programme, Bhopal
Posted 7 March 2007

Dear Members,

I work for the UN Habitat on the Water for Asian Cities Programme, which aims to support developing countries in Asia and Pacific to achieve sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation for the poor, particularly in urban areas. In Madhya Pradesh, the programme is working in four cities of the state, viz. Bhopal, Gwalior, Indore and Jabalpur for improvement and expansion of urban water supply, sewerage and sanitation, water drainage and solid waste management.

Traditionally, augmenting supplies has been a strategy for meeting the demand for water requiring huge capital investments, search for new water sources, laying new transmission network, construction of treatment systems, and so on. However, this approach is exerting more and more pressure on available water resources and is also leading to over exploitation of groundwater in some cases. Consequently, the approach being followed by our programme consists of influencing water usage practices, minimising losses and leakages and thereby managing the demand to meet the supply of water.

The programme intends to influence water usages practices, policies and measures for optimisation of available water in municipal water supply system. Specific steps proposed in the “Water Demand Management” strategy are:

  • Formulation of strategy and implementation plan for water demand management.
  • Assessment of current water supply situation, and estimation of Unaccounted for Water (UFW) in the entire water supply system from intake to final distribution to consumer;
  • preparation of a proper water balance.
  • Taking up water auditing, flow metering, extensive leak detection and establishment of district-metered areas.
  • Appropriate technical, financial and institutional interventions for water demand management.

The Water Community members are requested to please share experiences, suggestions and best practices in other parts of India on the above steps. Your inputs will help us enhance the design and implementation of this programme, and will be deeply appreciated.

Please see attachment below for the responses.