the water & sanitation scenario in indian metropolitan cities: resources and management in delhi, calcutta, chennai, mumbai
Urban water supply and sanitation in India is at a crossroads. Faced with an increased demand and growing poluution probelms, Indian cities are not able to provide services that are adequate, neither in quantity nor in quality.
Additional but also new types of investments are required, as well as a change in management of the sector, to be able to ensure supply for all as far as water is concerned, and to fill the gap as far as sewerage and sanitation is concerned.
This paper relies on four case studies (Calcutta, Chennai, Delhi and Mumbai). It deliberately chooses to leave aside classical questions such as the use of performance indicators of the water boards/corporations to assess supply efficiency or questions regarding demand analysis. Conversely, it focuses on:
– the institutional and organisational structure of the service providers by looking at the level of technical and managerial decentralisation reached in the four cities
– the question of property rights and the debate on usage conflicts in order to fill the gap for the future demand
– revisiting the question of reforms that were launched in the 1990s for all infrastructure sectors and demonstrate that in the UWSS, the term of reform does not reflect a reality where only marginal changes are introduced.
This study actually concentrates on two directions the sector could look at for changes: the look at the water cycle through the development of conservation-based strategies, and the need for a more participative approach by involving the civil society.
This would mean a paradigm shift for the sector. Indeed, demand side solutions are rarely considered and the probelm of water supply is mostly addressed by the supply angle.