Installing 6,000 meters a month

A city in India aims to connect more than 350,000 homes to its water network.

Residents in the central Indian city of Nagpur only receive drinking water two to twelve hours a day, depending on where they live. Nagpur's political leaders have long hoped to provide a continuous supply of fresh water to all the city's 2.7 million residents.

Soon they will, thanks to a partnership between the municipal government and Veolia Water. Veolia Water India has set up a special purpose entity, Orange City Water, in a joint venture with Vishvaraj Environment Ltd., one of India's leading civil engineering and services companies.

Orange City Water will provide 24/7 drinking water service to all residents of Nagpur, including the city's slums - one third of the city population. This will be a major step forward in India, where no large city has non-stop access to drinking water and where drinking water is often of poor quality.
The technical challenges are huge: connecting 350,000 to 450,000 homes to the distribution network, more homes than all the households in Indianapolis.

Then there's the commitment to increase the amount of available water per person from 23.78 gallons a day to 34.34 gallons. Accomplishing this feat will require the team to install an average of 6,000 to 8,000 water meters monthly, a major undertaking.

"Our responsibility is to encourage access to water for all, whatever people's social level and living conditions," said Jean-Michel Herrewyn, Chief Executive Officer of Veolia Water.

The team will eventually manage production capacity of nearly 200 million gallons a day. They will have to reduce network leakage, currently at 60 percent. The water will be compliant with World Health Organization standards and provided continuously at a constant pressure.

The contract calls for an initial five-year works program to rehabilitate and upgrade water connections to homes in Nagpur. Also included in the contract: management of drinking water production, treatment, transport, storage and distribution straight through to the consumer's tap.

Despite the challenges, the team is confident it can succeed, based on its initial success in the "demozone" in Nagpur's Dharampeth neighborhood, which represents 8% of the city's population. Thanks to Veolia Water India, all of the households in Dharampeth now have a continuous supply of fresh water.

As it works to provide access to water for everyone, Veolia Water India will focus on the needs of Nagpur's local communities. A 24/7 customer service center will be set up to meet, listen to and inform users and help them understand their new water-consumption habits and how to control their water bills. To get a better understanding of local needs, Veolia Water India has launched a study with a business school to analyze conditions for providing service in the slums of Nagpur.

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