In its effort to provide uninterrupted water supply to citizens,the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation has decided to outsource work instead of carrying out reformsdepartmentally.
Three agencies will be established as project managers under its Water Distribution Improvement Project (WDIP) to fix leakages for continuous water supply. With an estimated cost of Rs 150 crore,the private agencies will be responsible for the water supply in Mumbai for the next five years.
The decision was taken in a meeting of water supply department on Wednesday. The World Bank officials are helping the civic administration in preparing the bid documents for establishment of the agencies.
Senior civic official said that expression of interest would be floated soon for private agencies to undertake the work under WDIP. The official said that the main task of these project managers would be to give suggestions on increasing pressure system to provide uninterrupted water supply.
There will be three contractors for city,eastern and western zone. We are estimating a cost of Rs 50 crore for each zone for a period of five years, said the official. BMC in its years budget has assured the citizens of 24 X 7 water supply in the next five years. The current budget has a provision of Rs 63 crore that will unfold over the next five years with the objective of reducing revenue by way of water leakages.
The agencies will undertake water audit study,repair the leakages and pilferages,and improve the water network system. They will also repair those meters which are rigged and do not provide adequate revenue to the civic body by studying the differences in water supply as recorded by district metering area (bulk meter for every 10,000 water meters) and individual consumer meters,GIS based mapping of the underground water pipelines.
After the WB-appointed French consultant company,Castalia,gave its recommendations on uninterrupted water supply,the BMC had said that it would carry out reforms departmentally,however,it has now decided to outsource the work. Officials said that the water supply department does not have adequate work force or time to carry out these works.
There is not enough expertise to carry out analysis on what measures to adopt for improving the network system. It was therefore necessary to appoint outside agencies, said the official.
Rejecting accusations of privatisation of water department from activists,officials said that the BMC will be in-charge of the agencies and no decision will be taken without its surveillance. Ownership of the water department remains with the civic body. The agencies will only help in giving suggestions to improve the water distribution system, he said.
Although the existing demand of water is 4,250 million liters per day,the city receives 3,750 mld water with a loss of 650 mld through leakages and pilferages. The civic administration,amidst opposition,last year had appointed six zonal contractors to maintain,operate and repair the water distribution system that costed Rs 20 crore for each zone.