Home | About us | Sitemap | Contactus

Water Supply Sector Review

Give details of policy, strategy, goals, achievements, responsible organizations and their roles, programs, legal frame work, present status, future plans etc. These issues should be discussed at global level, Asia level, India level, state level. Major issues and concerns emerging from sector review should be brought out. It should be established that the proposed master plan/ detailed project report is in line with sector policies.


Example of sector review given below:

Global Perspective

Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) for water and sanitation, targets to halve, by 2015, the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water and sanitation. Aggregate global coverage has advanced from 77% to 87% between 1990 and 2006, not far short of the 2015 target of 89%. The total number of people without access to safe water fell below 900 million and, in urban areas, coverage is 95%. However these figures conceal the disappointing situation in sub-Saharan Africa where only 58% of the population had satisfactory access in 2006 and the rate of progress is such that the MDG target of 75% will not be reached until 2035. The perceived threats are,

go top

Asia Perspective

It is now increasingly being recognized that water is likely to be a major critical resource issue all over the world, and that the social, economic, and environmental future of Asia is likely to depend on how efficiently and equitably this resource will be managed in the coming years. Asian Water Development Outlook 2007 published by Asian Development Bank make a forward-looking assessment of the possible water future of the world’s most populous region. The study high lights that major policy changes in the water and energy sectors will be needed in the near future to balance water and energy uses in agriculture and stabilize the levels of declining groundwater tables. Also, many developing countries will mortgage their future in a decade or two in terms of water security, by considering sanitation only in a very restricted sense of collecting and transferring the untreated sewage to another area thereby contaminating freshwater sources.

go top

India Perspective

Water Scarcity

India has 14% of the world population, but has only 4% of the total average annual river run-off. Several areas, including some of the most densely populated and economically productive, are already experiencing a water crisis. It has been estimated that by as early as 2020, India’s demand for water will exceed all sources of supply. India is therefore rapidly approaching entry into the water stress league. Already, 224 million people live in water stress in river basins, and more than 67% of the country’s renewable water is in areas that serve 33% of the population. About 70% of irrigation needs and 80% of municipal water supplies come from groundwater sources. However, depleted aquifers and lowered groundwater tables mean that this is no longer sustainable. Unclear rules governing the allocation of water rights of interstate rivers that drain 90% of India’s territory do not help. Climate change projections suggest an overall increase in rainfall for India, but an increasing proportion of it will occur during more intensive monsoon periods in the parts of the country that are already well endowed with rainfall. Modeling indicates that 67% of the country, in particular semi-arid regions, will experience more than 10% fewer rainy days, which will translate into a net loss for water security and place a premium on rainwater harvesting and water storage.

go top

National Water Strategy and Policies

The National Water Policy 2002 states that water is a scarce national resource to be planned, developed, conserved, and managed on an integrated and environmentally sound multi sectoral basin or sub-basin basis, with water transferred to water stress areas based on national perspectives. Drinking water has priority allocation over agriculture. Providing 24-hour water supply 7 days a week to India’s growing urban population is possible with political will from the Government and support from the stakeholders, particularly the consumers and civil society. It will require solving chronic inefficiencies in the urban water supply and sanitation sector, which include limited coverage and poor service quality. Previous studies pointed to the underlying problems related to performance of water utilities, such as poor and inadequate investments, poor operation and maintenance (O&M) practices, high nonrevenue water, uneconomic tariff structure, and poor financial management. Poor service delivery is ascribed to inefficient and financially weak utilities that continue to operate without sufficient autonomy, the right incentives, and the necessary accountability to consumers.

go top

Water ResourcesManagement

India faces a number of water-related challenges, including increasing water scarcity and competition for water between different sectors. This is already critical in some southern and western river basins, with those in the east perceived as having surplus water and encountering recurrent flooding. The National River Linking Project proposes transferring flood water from major rivers to water scarce basins to resolve these problems, but it is a contentious issue.

go top

Water SupplyStatus

Nearly all India’s 5,161 cities or towns have piped water systems, but many are characterized by poor efficiencies, high levels of nonrevenue water (NRW), low pressures, and water available for only a few hours. Significant rural-urban migration is placing further strain on already over-stretched services daily. Many water utilities have staffing levels of about 10 staff/thousand connections, exceeding best international practice of 2–4. Revenues typically fall far short of costs, the sector relying extensively on large state operating subsidies and capital grants.

go top

MDG TargetProgress

World Health Organization/United Nations Children’s Fund (WHO/UNICEF) data for 2004 indicate overall water supply coverage achieved was 86% (95% urban and 83% rural), with overall sanitation coverage 33% (59% urban and 22% rural). Progress on meeting the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by 2015 has been good, with urban water and rural water MDG targets already reached, and with urban sanitation and rural sanitation on-track to meet their targets by 2015.

go top


None of the 35 Indian cities with a population of more than one million distribute water for more than a few hours per day, despite generally sufficient infrastructure. Owing to inadequate pressure people struggle to collect water even when it is available. According to the World Bank, none have performance indicators that compare with average international standards. A 2007 study by the Asian Development Bank showed that in 20 cities the average duration of supply was only 4.3 hours per day. No city had continuous supply. The longest duration of supply was 12 hours per day in Chandigarh, and the lowest was 0.3 hours per day in Rajkot. In Delhi residents receive water only a few hours per day because of inadequate management of the distribution system. This results in contaminated water and forces households to complement a deficient public water service at prohibitive 'coping' costs; the poor suffer most from this situation. It is estimated that non-revenue water in Delhi is close to 60%, including physical and commercial losses of 40% and 15% respectively. Jamshedpur, a city in Jharkhand with 573,000 inhabitants, is said to be one of the few cities in India with continuous water supply. Its water system is being operated by the private company Jamshedpur Utilities & Services Company (Jusco), a subsidiary of Tata Steel. Navi Mumbai (formerly known as "New Bombay"), a planned city with more than 1m inhabitants, has achieved continuous supply for about half its population as of January 2009. Badlapur, another city in the Mumbai Conurbation with a population of 140,000, has achieved continuous supply in 3 out of 10 operating zones, covering 30% of its population. Thiruvananthapuram, the capital of Kerala state with a population of 745,000 in 2001, is probably the largest Indian city that enjoys continuous water supply.

go top

Sector Frame Work:

Under the Constitution of India, water supply and sanitation is a State subject. Urban Local Bodies (ULBs) have the responsibility for planning, design, implementation, operation and maintenance of water supply and sanitation services in cities and towns. At the Central level, the Ministry of Urban Development is the nodal agency for formulation of policies, strategies and guidelines and assists the States by providing financial assistance for the development of urban water supply and sanitation schemes in cities and towns. The Central Public Health and Environmental Engineering Organization (CPHEEO) is the technical arm of the Ministry and assists in preparation of policy guidelines, technical manuals etc. related to urban water supply and sanitation. Central Ground Water Authority and State Ground Water Departments are responsible for groundwater. State governments are responsible for policy formulation, regulation, and execution of water sector projects by Water and Sanitation Departments, etc. Under the 74th Constitutional Amendment, municipalities and corporations provide water supply and sanitation facilities in their areas.

go top


According to 54th round of National Sample Survey, 70% of urban households reported being served by tap and 21% by Tube well or hand pump. 66% of urban households reported having their principal source of water within their premises while 32% had it within 0.2 Km. 41% had sole access to their principal source of drinking water and 59% were sharing a public source.

Future Plans

It has been estimated that India would have to invest US$4.4 billion annually during the 11th FYP (2007–2012), increasing to US$5.25 billion/year in the 12th FYP on infrastructure assets to meet the water MDG targets, equivalent to 0.55% of gross domestic product (GDP) during that 10-year period. If only 40% of operating and maintenance costs are recovered from user charges, as is thought to be the current situation, India will have to devote a further 0.25% of its GDP to supporting its water and sanitation sector. The proposed budget for the water resources component of the 11th FYP is Rs 231,800 crore, plus Rs127,025 crore for urban water supply, sanitation, drainage, and solid waste.


It is proposed to achieve 100% population coverage for urban water supply by end of the Eleventh Five Year Plan i.e. 31.3.2012

Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM)


Non-Mission Cities

go top

Private Sector Participation

Though private sector participation in water supply and sanitation sector could not make significant progress as of now, there is substantial potential and need for the same in India. By and large, tariff rates being charged from the consumers are very low and there is a general reluctance for enhancing the same. Under the circumstances, without aiming at full cost recovery, private sector participation cannot be a successful proposition. It is felt that it would be easier and convenient to introduce privatization in new areas where the private companies will have a free hand to take up the task of planning, designing, execution, operation and maintenance, billing and collection including tapping of raw water from the selected source either on BOO or BOOT basis.


Even in the existing systems, service and management contracts for tapping of raw water, its conveyance, treatment and supply in bulk to the local bodies, treatment of wastewater, its reuse for various beneficial purposes, maintenance of pump houses, etc. can be entrusted to private agencies. With a view to assisting the State Governments and ULBs for initiating Public-Private Partnerships, detailed guidelines have been formulated and widely circulated by the Ministry of Urban Development for necessary action at the State and ULBs level. In addition, there is an imminent need to bring water supply and sanitation services under the regulatory regime so as to achieve a level playing field and to generate enthusiasm among the private players.

Resource Mobilization

In the recent years, the Central Government has provided some fiscal incentives to help mobilize resources for urban infrastructure. These include permitting issuance of tax-free Municipal Bonds, broadening the definition of infrastructure to include water supply and sanitation, removing restriction on foreign direct investment in urban infrastructure, Income tax and excise duty exemptions and tax holidays etc.

go top

Community Participation

The basic principle followed is the need to involve community’s right from the start in the selection of technologies. Hence, agencies, communities and users should work together as partners, and plan subsequent activities in mutual agreement. One of the redeeming features of JNNURM is to enhance community participation with the help of Technical Advisory Group envisaged under the Mission. The Technical Advisory Group is expected to help create voluntary technical corps in each of the Mission cities. Technical Advisory Group will also facilitate implementation of 2 mandatory reforms namely enactment of community participation law and enactment of public disclosure law which will go a long way in enhancing community participation.

Way Forward

The Government of India should continue to play the role of a facilitator as is being done through JNNURM and UIDSSMT and various other reform initiatives such as property tax reforms, municipal accounting reforms, model municipal law, guidelines on private sector participation etc. advocated to the State Governments and urban local bodies. The Government of India should also come up with policy framework for regulators in urban sector. The State Government in turn should quickly play a similar role to facilitate urban local bodies in order to provide an enabling environment to the ULBs to function as effective units of self government. India needs to increase water sector investments to at least 1% of GDP (0.55% GDP to meet outstanding sanitation MDG and 11th FYP goals, plus 0.25% GDP to fully cover cost deficits, and the remainder to improve service levels), and must also focus on tariff reform, increased wastewater treatment capacity, and improved water conservation.


In setting tariffs, the first consideration must be a consistent transparent tariff policy endorsed by the Government. Government subsidies to the sector, as well as so-called “cross subsidies” within the sector, need to be clearly outlined. Demand management through higher rates for high consumption and a lifeline rate where there are urban poor should be considered in the tariff structure. Mechanism for tariff adjustment must be defined. Ideally, an independent regulatory authority to monitor and approve tariffs must be established. Water utilities need to generate from tariffs a cash flow that will cover O&M costs, debt servicing (both capital repayment and interest), and provide a contribution to capital development.

For more details on water sector in India refer Country paper on India Asian Water Development Outlook 2007

go top

State Perspective

Haryana state has 78 towns with a total population of 7336967 souls. All the towns are covered with piped water supply. The status of water supply in different towns is as follows:



No. of Towns


No. of towns with Service Level 135 lpcd or more

No. of towns with Service Level >120<135 lpcd
No. of towns with Service Level >70<120 lpcd

There are about 564209 water connections in all the towns of the state. The total revenue realized last year from water supply operations was approximately Rs. 217.50 million and that from Sewerage operations was Rs. 64.50 million. Against this the O&M expenditure was around Rs.980 million (Rs.390m on O&M and Rs.590m on power charges). This gives a deficit of almost 70%. The main problems comprise of intermittent water supply resulting in in-adequate terminal pressures, contamination in distribution network, high amount of UFW and poor consumer satisfaction.


go top