Stating that water supply in Delhi will be on par with developed nations, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal Saturday said his government has started the process for 24×7 water supply to the city by appointment of a consultant for improving the water network, which is “not good” at present.
The CM, in a virtual address, said water being supplied to the city was being done at low pressure, because of which residents have to install pumps and store water in overhead tanks: “We have to end all of this. Just like other capital cities around the world get 24-hour water supply on full pressure, without the requirement of tankers and water pumps, we will do that in Delhi too. We will make water supply in Delhi just like it is in developed nations.”
Kejriwal said the Aam Aadmi Party had promised before the Delhi assembly elections that in the next five years, it would ensure 24×7 clean water supply in each household. “We have started that process. In a Delhi Jal Board meeting on Thursday, we began the process of appointment of a consultant who will give us suggestions on what we need to do to provide 24×7 water to each household,” Kejriwal said.
Under the 'One Zone-One Operator' scheme, private contractors will be appointed for 10 years in each zone for providing services such as installation of water and sewage connections, and fixing leaks in the water and sewage network. A single contractor will be responsible for all services in one zone, officials said. DJB staff will continue to supervise work done by the contractor, check quality maintenance, and retain power for billing and levying fines, which would not be hiked, officials said.
He was referring to the ‘one zone one operator’ scheme that was approved in a DJB meeting on Thursday, for the implementation of which a consultant will be appointed. Under the scheme, the city will be divided into at least seven zones, with each zone having one private contractor. This contractor will be responsible for operation and management of the water and sewerage network of the area for a period of 10 years.
The CM emphasised that the DJB’s services were not being privatised, and that the process for appointment of a consultant would have been initiated in March or April had it not been for the Covid outbreak. “Some opposition colleagues wrongly believe that this is privatisation. We are not doing any privatisation and I believe privatisation of water should not be done at all,” the CM said.
He added that the consultant being appointed would advise the Board on the latest technology that can be used to improve the water supply system. “A lot of water is currently wasted in Delhi, its management is not good and there’s no accountability of the system. The consultant will tell us about how to improve the management and accountability of water so that it is not wasted,” Kejriwal said.
As part of the scheme, the contractor would provide services such as installation of water and sewage connections, and fixing leaks in the water and sewage network in each zone, which DJB officials have said is a precursor to 24×7 water supply and clean Yamuna.
Ankit Srivastava, technical advisor to the DJB, had told The Indian Express earlier: “For 24×7 supply, we need proper household water connections, and for clean Yamuna we need sewage lines so that sewage does not enter the river… Jal Board had a supervisory role earlier and will continue with that.”
Kejriwal said that 930 million gallons per day (MGD) of water is supplied to 2 crore residents of the city at present, which needs to be augmented, and talks are underway with states including Uttar Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand for obtaining more water from them.
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