The Urban Management Programme launched by NITI Aayog on 27 April, 2016 focusses on Capacity Building of officials of State Governments and Urban Local Bodies in three critical areas of urban rejuvenation viz., (i) Urban Planning & Governance, (ii) Water, Wastewater & Solid Waste Management and (iii) Public Financing (PPP) of Urban Infrastructure. This unique initiative of NITI in partnership with Singapore Cooperation Enterprise (SCE) and Temasek Foundation Singapore provides a platform to State Governments/ULBs to share the challenges being faced in urban transformation in these key areas and to evolve and design efficient solutions to some of these challenges through partnership with urban sector experts from Singapore. Seven states viz., Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi & Assam are participating in this Programme. The Singapore experts are from Surbana Jurong, CH2M Hill and PricewaterhouseCoopers.
During the Programme Launch event on 27 April, 2016, an overview of the activities in the Programme that would unfold in the coming months from April to November, 2016 was given to the participants and the detailed technical content under each of the three themes was shared. During the course of the interaction on forthcoming Water, Wastewater & Solid Waste Management workshop scheduled on 16 & 17 June, 2016 in New Delhi, the different states and cities posed the challenges being faced by them in this sector and the areas where they would like the Singapore experts to focus on during the forthcoming workshops in the Programme. This article throws light on technical content of the upcoming workshop on Water, Wastewater & Solid Waste Management and documents the key challenges being faced by States and ULBs in this area as expressed by the participants and the summary of deliberations on these issues and way forward.
The Workshop on Water, Wastewater & Solid Waste Management on 16 & 17 June 2016 will cover two broad themes, viz (i) Integrated Urban Water Cycle Management for Sustainable and Resilient Water Infrastructure and Healthy Cities and (ii) Solid Waste Management. The subjects to be covered under these themes are given below:
(i) Integrated Urban Water Cycle Management for Sustainable and Resilient Water Infrastructure and Healthy Cities -Singapore's Success Story, Sustainable Water Management, Integrated Water Resource Management, Efficient Water supply management, Recycle and Reuse of treated waste water, Asset Management, 24X7 water supply, Alternate sources of water for diversification purposes, Water conservation, Demand management and Effective NRW management, Rain water harvesting, Water Resilience plan, Technology options for sustainable and affordable sanitation, Best practices in urban sanitation management, Public education & communication, Climate change and future directions and Public financing (public-private partnerships) PPP project delivery model
ii) Solid Waste Management - Overview of Singapore's Waste Management System, Supply chain for effective Waste Management, Challenges & issues in India, Waste Collection, transfer and transport, Waste Minimisation & (3R’s) reduce, recycling & reuse, Waste-to-Energy (Incineration), Waste Disposal (various options) and Project Delivery options.
During the Launch Programme, the participating officials from various State Government and ULBs raised a diverse range of challenges being faced by them in this sector which interalia include providing basic water and sanitation infrastructure in large unplanned colonies in cities like Delhi; rejuvenating water and sewer infrastructure in old cities like Varanasi with very narrow streets and severe space constraints; tackling the issue of unaccounted for water which typically ranges from 20% to 45% across ULBs; making available adequate land and project sites for sewerage facilities; developing sustainable business models for water and sewerage utilities like Delhi Jal Board; developing model PPP framework for providing 24X7 water supply in cities; effectively treating, recycling and reusing waste water from around 400 tanneries in Kanpur; finding technical solutions to specific problems like froth formation in rivers due to discharge from sewage treatment plants in Nashik; developing a cost effective desalination solution for coastal towns in Andhra Pradesh; developing a PPP model to provide sewage treatment plant with tertiary treatment capability to provide treated water to thermal power stations in Maharashtra; developing solutions to upgrade existing waste water treatment plants to comply with revised waste disposal standards of Central Pollution Control Board; and providing Integrated Utility Management Solutions.
During the deliberations, it emerged that from strategic perspective there is a need for Indian cities to develop well diversified and resilient water portfolios rather than banking on just surface water or ground water source (which is fast depleting) as per present practice. Further, the planning boundary for water needs to shift from states and cities to regions and there is a need for Integrated Water Resource Management Planning to obtain more synergies. The strategy should be three pronged -increase water supply, diversify water supply and manage demand for water. The demand side can be managed by proper pricing of water and ensuring collection of user charges.
Regarding rain water harvesting, Singapore experts were of the view that harvesting at individual house level is not very efficient and there is a need to plan rain water harvesting at the city level. If rain water harvesting is done at city level, we can get large quantities of water that can supplement other available water resources. Rain water harvesting at city level is being planned in Bengaluru. Another major issue which needs to be addressed in case of utilities in India is to improve the efficiency of water utilities. Today we are focussing mostly on the tariff side and about subsidising it, but the cost side offers major scope for improvement by way of reducing non-revenue water and improving operation efficiency of Utilities.
On solid waste management, the Singapore experts shared their practice which focusses on Reduce, Reuse and Recycle and Minimising the volume of waste going to landfills (through incineration) as land is scarce and costly. Indian cities are now also facing constraints with regard to land fill sites. In solid waste management, there is need to go in for incineration so as to minimize the ash going to the land fill sites. Officers from Maharashtra mentioned that selection of technology for solid waste management is a major issue. Many a times we end up selecting a technology which is not suited to the requirements. The experts mentioned that there is a need to structure the PPP projects in Solid waste Management in a way so that risk of technology selection is passed on to the private player rather than the Government, as the private party is in the best position to bring the right technology. The Authority needs to figure out the output specifications and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and let the private player selected through a competitive bidding process innovate and find out the right technology which is cost effective and meets the requirements. It was decided that this issue would be discussed in detail possibly with live Indian case studies during the workshop on Public Financing (PPP) sometimes in July 2016.
It was decided that the Singapore experts would fine tune the course content of the upcoming Workshop on Water, Wastewater and Solid Waste Management scheduled on 16 & 17 June 2016 in New Delhi to cover the major issues raised by the States.
Please watch this space for further updates on NITI’s Urban Management Programme.
(Sunita Sanghi is Adviser, Skill Development, Employment and Managing Urbanisation Verticals in NITI Aayog.
Jeetendra Singh is Director, Managing Urbanisation Vertical in NITI Aayog)
Disclaimer: NITI blogs do not represent the views of either the Government of India or NITI Aayog. They are intended to stimulate healthy debate and deliberation.