Burgeoning populations coupled with slow and unorganised development in sewage infrastructure pose major threat to the sanitation conditions of cities, subsequent river water quality and public health of the inhabitants. To tackle this menace, several cities are taking precautionary measures to strengthen their water and sewage infrastructure.
India's fragile and finite water resources are depleting, while the multi-sectoral needs of water from sustained economic growth (over 8 per cent) will further increase demand for water with supporting dynamics like increased energy and consumption. Exponentially increasing demand for water due to population growth and agricultural use, together with a high degree of variability in the availability of water resources throughout the country, drives the per capita accessibility of water to under 1,000 cubic metres by 2020, if left unchecked.
Climate change and extreme climate variability are likely to further accentuate these numbers. The evolution of the inter-sector shares is complex and uncertain; however, there is likely to be higher usage in the domestic and industrial domains as the pace of economic growth picks up. Although water deficiency is still prevalent, industry experts are optimistic that this shortfall can be met through the implementation of innovative solutions for more effective use of water resources, especially in tackling water losses. Projected municipal and domestic water demand will also double by 2030 to 108 billion m3 (7% of total demand), while projected demand from industry will quadruple to 196 billion m3 (13%), pushing the overall demand growth close to 3 per cent per annum.
While no detailed analysis is available for the scale of water and sanitation markets in India, various estimates suggest that there is a "billion-dollar market" (approximately Ç11 billion) waiting to be tapped, and this covers only the construction segment.
Additionally, it is estimated that the equipment market is worth approximately Ç220û367 million, and is expected to double its growth rates every year.
Meanwhile, the burgeoning population coupled with slow and unorganised development in sewage infrastructure has posed a major threat to the sanitation conditions of cities, subsequent river water quality and public health of the inhabitants. To tackle this menace, several cities are taking precautionary measures to strengthen their water and sewage infrastructure.
The master planners Take, for instance, Delhi: The capital of India has engaged AECOM to develop an integrated and sustainable master plan for 2031, along with carrying out hydraulic designs and tendering works. The $3.25 billion project covered an area of around 1,500 sq km. Here, Gregg Herrin, Director of Product Management and Robert Makowski, VP, Software Development from Bentley System, explained how India, without a proper sewer network, possesses a huge potential for the company.
Makowski cited the example of how Bentley's SewerGEMS is helping Delhi Jal Board to develop an integrated and sustainable master plan for 2031, along with carrying out hydraulic designs and tendering works. The $3.25 billion project covers an area of around 1,500 sq km. Says Herrin, 'Performance audits were carried out for 30 existing sewage treatment plants at 17 locations. Extensive use of pre-defined queries; integration with GIS; automated load calculations, scenarios, and alternatives and excellent representation of design and simulation outcomes enabled the study to be completed in a timely manner.'
Meanwhile, the entire exercise has led the Delhi Jal Board to save significant design time, reduce personûmonth inputs on the project by one-seventh and achieve payback within six months. Among the deliverables were waste water management information systems for 2,200 colonies lacking sewers.
Both Cyndi Smith, Senior Industry Marketing Director-Utilities, Water and Communications and Ken Adamson, VP-Building, Electrical, Plant and Structural Detailing from Bentley System were unanimous in their perceptions of the Indian market. According to Adamson, a lot of activities are bound to happen in water modelling in India. Citing an example, Smith mentioned how NJS Engineering India (NJS) used Bentley SewerCAD and SewerGEMS to assess existing facilities, evaluate design alternatives and develop preliminary designs and cost estimates for priority projects (Refer See how GIS-based technology saved Rs 1.5 crore).
The software enabled NJS to redesign the sewer network with various options, such as using different piping sizes and materials, reducing the depth of laying the pipe network and addressing the soil and topography challenges. With Bentley's collaborative, interoperable software, NJS developed an online system to facilitate information mobility and integrate its team distributed over multiple locations, optimising its review and reporting capabilities.
With such a large number of pipes, network model calculations could have taken months. However, the design time reduced due to the use of SewerGEMS's automated design engine. Iy not only saved time, but also provided the ability to work on various software products, including ArcGIS and AutoCAD. A central server also facilitated file sharing among offices in Hong Kong, Australia and the United States.
That said, India's financially-sound Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has roped in US-based Black & Veatch to prepare largest recycled water master plan. BMC's vision is to maximise the use of tertiary-treated effluent over the next 50 years, in order to offset fresh water demand and alleviate the anticipated deficit in water supplies. Using tertiary-treated effluent could potentially defer the need for additional water supply projects, preserve raw water resources and pave the way for sustainable growth. The strategic recycled water master plan will outline the framework for reuse of tertiary-treated effluent from all seven of Mumbai's waste water treatment plants and serve as a guiding document to build infrastructure for recycled water in a phased manner.
Data to the rescue
At a time when other metropolitan cities are not getting enough water supply due to breakdown in the pipeline network, the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) has been giving presentations to other urban local bodies on how its water department saved Rs 6 crore last year on its electricity bill.
AMC's water department gives credit to Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) not only for saving costs but also for utilising 23 million litre per day (MLD) water that was going to waste.
'The project includes monitoring of water quantity, quality and energy parameters of 148 water distribution centres, four French wells and four water treatment plants. We will add 51 water distribution centres to the system,' says Jagdish Patel, City Engineer. He added, 'After monitoring the system for one year, we found that we had saved Rs 6 crore on electricity bill and utilised 23 MLD water that would have been wasted otherwise.'
Biren Raval, Additional Chief Engineer, said, 'The unit here works round the clock. We monitor all the water stations attached to the system. There is an automatic message and automatic alarm for any trouble which helps us fix the problem in a couple of minutes. With the online system, we recently introduced the automated valve operating system.'
He added,'It will prevent discrepancies and solve water deficiency. If the water tank is filled, the valve will close automatically. No manual operations will be required, unless there is some technical fault.'
A similar other initiative by NJS Engineers for Uttar Pradesh Jal Nigam, the Rs 34 billion Agra Water Supply Project delivers an adequate supply of treated water 24/7 to Agra. The project includes construction of a 144 MLD water treatment plant, sedimentation tank and a 130 km transmission pipeline. Rehabilitation and repair of two water treatment plants, overhead tanks, clear water reservoirs and distribution networks were also undertaken.
The distribution network installation, leakage prevention and rehabilitation were challenging due to the high volume of non-revenue water. A GIS-based spatial database of assets was developed and WaterGEMS was used to create a hydraulic model for existing, intermediate and future water supply zones. Through this, the agency prepared the GIS-based asset database, project area database and land acquisition database to develop water network hydraulic models. These applications were essential for planning system rehabilitation, improvement and expansion as well as establishing efficient operational strategies and reducing non-revenue water.
The model was used to evaluate network flow, capacity and pressure; plan system rehabilitation, improvement and expansion; monitor non-revenue water and develop efficient operational strategies. The existing system delivered intermittent water supply with pumping stations operating a few hours a day.
A pilot project repaired 206 of 308 leakages in six months, increasing the population served from 57 to 72 per cent.
As water scarcity, population growth and ageing infrastructure burden India's smart water sector, utilities are leaving no stone unturned in improving the sector. That said, Kamstrup has successfully installed 450 water meters in the city of Kapil Gram Panchayat, 300 km southeast of Mumbai, which has benefitted the citizens in every possible way. Having a population of 5,000 people, it becomes the first city in India to get ultrasonic water meters installed.
Before getting a Kamstrup meter, consumers were charged at bulk rates for water. There were no limitations on how much of water could be consumed and no check on how much went to waste. With the metering system, consumers realise that it is better to consume less and pay less. In other words, they save costs that directly impact their pocket.
'By getting a Kamstrup water meter, consumers experience tangible improvement of their daily life. During bulk supply, consumers had to wait from 6 AM till night, not knowing when the water will be supplied or how much will be supplied. Now consumers do not have to store water and can avoid wasting water,' says KR Otari, Sub Divisional Engineer, Maharashtra Jeevan Pradhikaran.
Kapil Gram Panchayat decided to install AMR water meters for effective water management. With the project now running, the expectations are high, says SK Bhopale, Sectional Engineer, Maharashtra Jeevan Pradhikaran. 'To recover project implementation cost, we needed to issue water bills to all on monthly basis. And, most importantly, the bill should be based on actual usage of each consumer. That is why we installed Kamstrup AMR ultrasonic domestic water meters,' says Bhopale.
The system has successfully been installed with a handheld drive-by solution. The water meters log daily consumption data; events such as leak, tamper and reverse flow for 460 days and monthly data for 36 months.
'The system definitely delivers as expected. By using ultrasonic meters, we get accurate data and are able to save water. The consumer is more aware. What we deliver is counted, and the issue of economy is important for us and the consumer,' says BK Wankhede, Executive Engineer, Maharashtra Jeevan Pradhikaran. He further added: 'Kamstrup gives us awareness of new technology and helps us achieve efficiency at the water plant and reduce non-revenue water.'
The way forward
Like other infrastructure subsectors in India, the waste water sector will be driven by government initiatives based on which the implementation models will be designed.
Hence, sound policy and regulatory interventions by the central and state governments are prerequisites for the launching of innovative reuse projects. Government interventions will need to focus on incentivising the use of reclaimed water and developing institutional support mechanisms.
GIS-based technology saves Rs.1.5 crore for Varanasi
Located on the Ganga River, the ancient city of Varanasi discharges 67 per cent of its sewage directly into the river and its tributary, resulting in significant pollution. For this, the Uttar Pradesh Jal Nigam - the government corporation responsible for water supply and sewerage services in Uttar Pradesh - retained NJS Engineers India to participate in a Rs 496 crore project both to construct new and rehabilitate existing sewerage treatment facilities to improve the quality of sanitation, while simultaneously boosting tourism.
NJS Engineers India leveraged advanced software to develop the rehabilitation and improvement plan, and performed design review, construction supervision and operations planning. A GIS-based spatial database of assets was developed, and SewerGEMS was used to review the design of the sewer system. Bentley's interoperable software provided a platform for exchanging and updating spatial, non-spatial and engineering data and models with global team members.
'Using high end GIS-based technology, the engineering team was able to develop an optimal design for the new, 800 km sewer network while saving 60 resource hours and reducing the number of large-scale drawings produced by 30 per cent,' says Rohit Dembi, GIS Specialist, NJS Consultants. He added: 'The new sewer network will improve the water quality of rivers and tributaries, which will ultimately enable a higher quality of life for people living in the area, as well as encourage more tourism, improve irrigation and increase employment opportunities.'
The project team created hydraulically coherent models from CAD drawings by using SewerGEMS's Network Navigator to discover model problems, such as dead-end pipes. SewerGEMS was also instrumental in the analysis of the new sewer network. For example, using the scenario management functionality, the team analysed various design and operation and what-if scenarios, improving the decision-making process.
Highly accurate results saved Rs 0.5 crore during design and Rs 1 crore during construction. While reviewing the design of underground sewer system, the software helped NJS Engineers locate two unnecessary pumping stations, which will save millions of rupees in operations and maintenance upon removal.
Managing water through command centres
Thanks to delayed monsoons, insufficient rains, oversight of irrigation needs and competing neighbouring states, water scarcity in India is well khown. Andhra Pradesh with a 50-million population and land area spanning over 160,000 sq km, frequently witnessess such water-related concerns, particularly in summers.
Hence, state officials realised the need to implement a water management solution to maximise available water resources. Data from groundwater, rainwater, basins, reservoirs, need to be monitored. Having such data on water availability gives local authorities the ability to make informed decisions regarding storage and allocation.
The aim was to harness new technologies - both in terms of hardware and software - that would afford state officials, including the office of the Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh, a bird's eye view of state-wide water levels and needs. Such granular level monitoring would also aid in the preparation of a water balance sheet for the state.
The Andhra Pradesh Water Resources Department (APWRD), responsible for the irrigation needs of the entire region, is the key stakeholder in this project. The Chief Minister's office, which also plays an important role, installed Integrated Water Management Solution (IWM) to offer near real-time visibility across the state's water assets through IoT water sensors that transmit information on water levels and flows.
The data helps them in the decision-making process regarding reservoir water level, canal flow/discharge, rainwater level and groundwater level.
The water levels in reservoirs and canal flow and discharge will be measured by non-invasive ultrasonic sensors placed on top of gauge wells constructed parallel to the canal or reservoir in question. The sensors, equipped with a solar panel, a battery, an RTU and a GSMunit, will send the collected data to the Cloud via the GSM cellular network. For rain- and groundwater-level information, AP government has existing sensors in place that will be used. At present, these sensors are deployed on a pilot basis across 42 key locations at the Godavari, Krishna and Tungabhadra rivers within the state. All information will first be displayed on the mimic viewed by Water Resources Department, before being routed to the various stakeholders.
Bird's eye view of water assets
Being able to collect and share data quickly and efficiently solved only half the problem of the APWRD. They also needed a way to collaborate and quickly make decisions that would affect the entire state. To address that need, the government implemented an immersive telepresence solution that when used in conjunction with the Integrated Water Management Command Centre, gives the Chief Minister's office and the APWRD a way to collaborate on water-related issues effectively. Teams are able to share real-time data, information and visuals on the state's water assets that can be shown on the screens of participants.
The immersive telepresence system allows for navigation between the following screens: