French firm bags water supply outsourcing contract

Enthused by the outcome of water service outsourcing in parts of three towns and unmindful of criticism by activists, the State government is extending the 24/7 water facility by involving private players in 15 towns of North Karnataka and five towns of South Karnataka.

Karnataka Urban Infrastructure Development Corporation (KUIDFC) under the World Bank-funded Karnataka Municipal Reforms Project (KMRP) has chosen four towns for outsourcing water service which includes piped water supply, while 14 towns under North Karnataka Urban Sector Investment Programme (NKUSIP). The funding agency is Asian Development Bank.

For three towns – Magadi, Kollegal and Nanjungud – a loan of Rs 72 crore would be raised from the World Bank for providing round-the-clock water supply to about 26,000 households.

For Haliyal town in Uttara Kannada district, the bidding process is over and the agency to execute the water supply is to be finalised soon. It would take 18 months to complete the project by the contractor who bags the work through bidding for operating and maintaining the system for five years. The source of water is River Kali.

Ilkal town of Bagalkot district is getting ADB funding of Rs 11 crore for the 24/7 water supply to meet the requirements of nearly 62,000 population. In Bijapur town, 15 per cent of the total population of nearly 67,000 will get assured water supply.

In both these towns, Veolia Water of France has bagged the contract for water supply service. The company’s website says that it would earn a revenue of 4 million euros from the Ilkal project in operation and maintenance phase spread over four years, while in the case of  Bijapur, the six-year contract would bring 4.5 million euros in revenue.

KUIDFC has made preparations to award tenders to provide 24/7 water supply to 14 towns, which have been identified as the most backward in the Dr Nanjundappa Committee report. Rs 500 crore is the estimated cost. 

More N-K towns

In all probability, even Davangere town will be covered under the 24/7 water scheme.
According to official sources, the select wards of three demo zones – Hubli-Dharwad, Belgaum and Gulbarga have shown good results in terms of checking water leakage, saving revenue as well as maintaining sustainable water supply.

Every water connection is metered and users are paying the tariff fixed by the local bodies. About 10 per cent of the population in these three cities are getting quality water supply through the day. The saving of water has been put at 40 per cent in the three zones.

The bulk water supply has improved by 27 million litres per day (MLD) in Belgaum, 30 MLD in Gulbarga and two MLD in Hubli-Dharwad. It has also helped in saving Rs 1.50 crore in energy charges in Hubli-Dharwad alone. The project began in 2008 and to be completed in 2013. A lower middle-class family with a normal consumption of water on an average pays Rs 55 a month for the water supply.

Sources said now there was demand to scale up the 24/7 water supply covering all the wards in three towns for which not less than Rs 1,800 crore is required.

14 towns covered

Veolia Water, a French firm, will manage water supply and waste water system in Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore. The company’s website says the contract is for three years. The campus has suffered serious shortages over the last few years.

Following are the 14 towns to be covered under 24/7 water supply through outsourcing in North Karnataka – Gadag-Betageri, Haveri, Gokak, Nippani, Yadgir, Shahabad, Bidar, Basavakalyan, Bellary, Hospet, Raichur, Sindanur and Chamarajnagar (South Karnataka) 

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