Case for integrated development of Urban and Rural Water supply scheme in India and its implementation strategies
Rural water supply in India in many instances are single-village or multi-village schemes sourced from ground water. These schemes have the inherent demerits of limited/intermittent water supply, poor water quality, high energy cost of pumping from borewells, and sharp depletion of ground water table in areas where rural water supply and irrigation are both sourced from ground water. On the other hand, urban water supply schemes are better managed in terms of assured piped water supply and treated water quality, being river/reservoir based sustainable and dependable water supply schemes. However, we cannot afford to see urban islands of water prosperity in the midst of oasis of drinking water scarcity in vast rural country-side, and there lies an urgent need for integrated developement of large scale urban and rural water supply schemes in India which will ensure economy of scale and equity distribution of water to rural and urban population.
In recent times, this later trend is emerging in India with State Governments of Madhya Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh pioneering this integrated concept by inviting Aarvee Associates Architects Engineers and Consultants Pvt. Ltd. to prepare the Detailed Project Reports for (i) Integrated Narmada water supply scheme for villages and towns of Dewas, Ujjain and Shajapur districts in Madhya Pradesh, (ii) Integrated comprehensive sustainable scheme for supply of drinking water to all rural habitations in Chittoor district in Andhra Pradesh.
Integrated Narmada water supply scheme will provide water supply to 1513 villages and 27 towns including industrial water demand and municipal services, lifting the water from Narmada river upstream of Indirasagar project. In water supply projects, pipeline and pumping are the major capital cost and O&M cost respectively. With meticulous planning and engineering design, the pressure main is kept as 70 km, water flow by gravity is 9675 km in pipeline length, thus ensuring cost of production of treated water as Rs. 6.89 per 1000 litre. Rural population cannot pay for water comparable to their counterpart in towns and cities. Therefore, a differential water tariff for different segments of consumers is arrived which will fully compensate the annual O&M cost.
Integrated sustainable water supply scheme in Chittor district is planned to draw water supply for 10917 rural habitations and 8 towns, drawing water from Kandaleru balancing reservoir of Telugu Ganga canal project. Chittor district being undulating topography partly covered by the Eastern Ghats, planning strategy is to segment the district into 5 water supply zones with tapping water at 4 tapping points from the pipeline pressure main from source to the Chittor town, thus ensuring reasonable pumping costs and water distribution to all urban centres and rural habitations.
Since urban and rural water supply in all States in India is controlled by several departments and agencies, implementation strategy of an integrated urban and rural water supply scheme would ideally be through "Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV)" system, amongst many alternativies, which will build and operate the scheme (i) to avoid duality of execution and day-to-day functional issues and (ii) equity distribution of drinking water to all sections of the rural and urban consumers.