Aurangabad is an important city in the state of Maharashtra in India. It is one of the fastest growing cities in India. The present water supply situation in the city is very challenging. Non Revenue Water (NRW) is very high: 58% and therefore there is huge water loss and as a result, residents of the city get water once in 3-4 days and that too for a duration of just 45 minutes. Cost recovery in water supply services is poor, resulting into unsustainable operation of water supply. All these make the life of the people very hard.
Challenges of the existing Water Supply of Aurangabad City – Study Report
The city administration, including the water supply department, faces a very difficult task of providing drinking water supply.
These important challenges are enumerated below:
1.1 Bulk Water
Main challenges in bulk water are as below:
(1) Shortage of Water: The residents of the city face acute shortage of water. Present drinking demand of the city is 182 million liters per day (MLD). However, just 156 MLD of water is pumped from the head work and only 136 MLD of water reaches the Master Balancing Reservoir (MBR) at Nakshatrawadi. A large quantity of water – 20 MLD is lost in the transmission system itself. Further, 15 MLD water is lost during its transmission from the MBR at Nakshtrawadi to the various ESRs in the city. Thus, the total losses in the transmission system are 35 MLD (22%).
(2) Old Pumping Machinery: The pumps in the old system have been installed in 1974 and those in new system have been installed in 1991. The raw water pumps have already outlived their lives. But these pumps have not been replaced causing huge energy consumption. The energy required of the old system (56 MLD) is 1450 Kwh/MLD and for the new system (100 MLD) is 917 Kwh/Mld. Thus, due to high static lift, booster arrangement and inefficient pumps, AMC have to bear a heavy energy cost (about Rs 270 million per annum).
1.2 Distribution System
The main challenges in the distribution system are as below:
(1) Uneven Terrain: The city terrain has a number of undulating surfaces. The terrain has a level difference in the range of 525 m to 840 m. The system is lacking pressure management, as a result there are uneven pressures in different parts of the city.
(2) Old GI and Non-metallic pipes: Out of 968 kms of length of distribution, 634 kms are AC, PVC, GI RCC pipes. These pipes are easily tampered with and therefore there is huge wastage of water.
(3) High NRW: The system has numerous leakage points resulting in 58% NRW – the breakup is shown in Table 1.
Commercial losses occur due to theft, metering inaccuracy and unmetered authorized consumption. The theft is also due to a large number of illegal connections. The total consumers as per AMC record is 99,451. These consumers are of domestic and commercial category. The water audit study indicates that around 50,000 houses are without connection in spite of the fact that the distribution pipe network covers almost all parts of the city. The significant observation is that commercial connections are mentioned as just 600, which does not match the commercial status of Aurangabad city. Thus, losses in the commercial segment are huge amounting to Rs 2,500 per capita per year – the loss of revenue is Rs 12.50 Crores per Annum.
Due to uneven terrain and haphazard laying of pipelines, there is low pressure in many locations. People dig pits and collect water from the pipeline by puncturing the vulnerable AC and PVC pipes. Water from the pipeline is then sucked by installing pumps. There is a lot of leakage from these punctured pipes.
(4) Contamination due to Intermittent Supply: One of the important drawback of the current intermittent water supply is that the water is contaminated in non-supply hours with outside contaminants which find entry into the pipeline due to a vacuum in the pipeline and through leaking joints.
(5) Supply Hours: The main problem of the city’s water supply is that the residents get water supply for just 45 minutes and that too once in a week. The supply hours are not regular. People have to remain awake at night as well as in the early hours as the timing of the supply is erratic. Due to this hardship, taps of private household connections and public taps are kept open resulting in loss of precious water resource.
(6) Large number of Valves: Due to intermittent water supply, zoning system for daily operation has to be practiced. There are 2,646 valves in the distribution system. The total staff required to operate the valves is 123.
Thus, operation of zones requires a large staff for mere operation of the valves. These valves are proposed to be scrapped as they are most likely old and their service life has been exhausted.
(7) Improper Operation Zones: The serving area/ zones served by each elevated service reservoir (ESR) were not designed as per their capacity. Despite disordered service area, existing pipelines have been found laid in haphazard manner. Thus, the residents not only get less water but also with less pressure. As elevated service reservoirs could not supply water continuously, they are generally filled with water during non-peak hours and during peak hours water is let out in the distribution system. Main problems with the distribution system network are – (a) capacity of ESR is not enough to cater the demand of its service area (operational zone) and (b) WSR remains empty or is found overflowing,
(8) Huge Coping Costs: The Coping cost is the money which is required to cope up with poor service. Aurangabad residents have to pay a considerable amount – Rs 5,000 per annum is spent to buy plastic overhead tanks, booster pumps, tankers and small purification devices.
1.3 Status of Water Supply
In order to assess the health of water works of the country in 5,161 Statutory Towns, the Government of India (GoI) has published nine performance indicators which are shown in Table 2 for the whole of India, for Maharashtra and for Aurangabad. It is observed that extent of metering is nil in the city, level of NRW is quite high and water supply continuity is extremely low.
( Part 2: SOLUTIONS PROPOSED)
In order to improve water availability and quality of service level, Aurangabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) should plan a comprehensive water supply project, to be executed and operated by Maharashtra Jeevan Pradhikaran funded by State Government.