A new wave from Amravati
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Delivering 24/7 water with full recovery of operation and maintenance costs — Amravati shows the way
Amravati, a major city in the Vidarbha region of Maharashtra, home to our president, Smt Pratibha Patil, was the runner-up for the Urban Water Award in December, 2011. With a population of 7,00,000, Amravati is a much larger city than Malkapur (the winner of the award), which has provided 24x7 water to all of its 40,000 residents. Amravati Municipal Corporation (AMC) covers Amravati city, Badnera Municipality and 16 adjoining villages. Maharashtra Jeevan Pradhikaran (MJP), a state utility with the responsibility of delivering potable water and sanitation, has played a major role in changing the water scenario in these cities.
The challenge of providing continuous water supply was much greater in Amravati. The bulk source of water is 55 km away compared with 5 km for Malkapur. The relevant surface source — the Upper Wardha dam — was created only in 1994 after Amravati suffered a major cholera epidemic in 1992. The city had earlier relied totally on groundwater, and water-borne diseases were common. Also, unlike in Malkapur where no network of pipes existed, Amravati had an ageing network.
Until only a few years ago, water was typically delivered for only four hours a day in Amravati. Besides the many illegal connections and the free water provided by the 933 stand posts, including many in the 74 slum clusters of the city, the old pipes leaked. The revenue generating water received by customers in the city was only 39 million litres per day compared with a supply to the city of 82 million litres per day. The remaining 52 per cent of the supply of water generated no revenue for MJP.
Today Amravati receives 24x7 water in four out of its 16 zones, that is, Arjun Nagar, Sai Nagar, Maya Nagar and HSR zone, covering 17 per cent of the total population. In the four zones, 55 km of old leaky pipes have been replaced. The pressurised continuous flow of water means that maintenance of meters is easier, and it is also more difficult for contaminants to enter the pipeline, thus ensuring better quality of water. It is no longer necessary to hoard water and then throw it away when the next lot of fresh water comes along. Water consumption in these zones has been reduced from 165 litres per capita per day to 112.
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