Upkeep of age-old water pumping stations likely to be outsourced

Upkeep of age-old water pumping stations likely to be outsourced

Upkeep of age-old water pumping stations likely to be outsourced

After 43 years, the Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board is outsourcing the operation and maintenance (O&M) of the Cauvery I, II and III stages of water pumping  under a public-private-partnership (PPP) model.  

Presently, the O&M of these pumping stations is handled by the board staff who operate the pumps and motors  round the clock.  The PPP model aims to increase the efficiency of the machinery and cut down on maintenance costs.

The existing motors and pumps, some of which were manufactured by the New Government Electric Factory (NGEF), have been underperforming, with an  efficiency of just 72%. It is a major reason for excess consumption of power.

According to BWSSB chairman Tushar Girinath, the machinery is indeed old and can break down anytime. "We cannot   afford   to lose the reliability of water supply using such old machines, which not only consume more power, but are also under frequent repair. We are forced to spend on it regularly without carrying out any preventive maintenance," he added.  

In order to cut down on the cost of maintenance and shift to an energy-saving model, the BWSSB has prepared a proposal to hand over the O&M of all the nine pumping stations to private players and submit it to the state government.

Explaining the project, Girinath said energy-saving companies would be invited to participate in the tendering that would work on the Viability Gap Funding (VGF). The work will be awarded to the company that shows the least VGF.

The board has worked out the outlines of the proposed PPP model, whereby an estimated cost of Rs 170 crore is invested by the company, while the BWSSB invests around Rs 43 crore as part of the VGF. The model would expect the company to save up to 6% of the energy for 10 years.

According to the conditions of the PPP model, the company will have to change the existing machinery at all the pumping stations, including motors, soft starters, control relays, electrical substations, transformers, breakers and switches, among others.

The role of the engineers will be confined to monitoring the O&M of the company.

The proposal is with the finance department. Once finalised, it will be placed before the Cabinet for approval, following which the tenders are expected to be floated.

The BWSSB has been handling 54 pumping systems at nine pumping stations at TK Halli (Thorekadanahalli), Harohalli and Tataguni. These stations are handled by  nine engineers, 16 operators from the board and 144 contract staff. 

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