Mr Shashi Shekhar, Secretary, Ministry of Water Resources, Ganga Rejuvenation and River Development, Government of India, released a White Paper on Urban Wastewater PPPs, prepared by the FICCI Water Mission and 2030 Water Resources Group.
The White Paper was launched at the India Water Week 2016, in an interactive seminar, jointly organized by FICCI and the Ministry of Water Resources, Ganga Rejuvenation and River Development on “Model for Efficient Water Management at Local Level in Urban / Peri-Urban Areas. Launching the paper Shri Shekhar remarked “what we have launched today is what we plan to do in Ganga.” In his endorsement of the FICCI – 2030 Water Resources Group White Paper, the Secretary mentioned that it “provides useful industry perspectives on measures to improve the investment climate and enhance project viability and sustainability through wastewater reuse markets in the long run.” Developed as a joint collaboration between the FICCI Water Mission and the 2030 Water Resources Group (2030 WRG), the Paper advocates for governments, both at the national and state levels, to focus on improvement in the quality of sewerage services in the country through Public-Private (Community) Partnerships (PP(C)P), over and above private sector participation as a means to bridge the investment gap.
The outcome of extensive stakeholder consultations with industry participants, water and wastewater utilities, government agencies and financiers, the Paper recommends a three level payment security mechanism which involves ring fencing of sewerage revenues at the local government/state utility level, followed by funding support from the state government through a separate State Sanitation Fund, and backstopped by a guarantee facility from the Government of India. It also suggests that the country needs to move to a regime where sewerage charges at least cover O&M expenses.
Ms Naina Lal Kidwai, Chairman, FICCI Water Mission highlighted that “the White Paper aims to serve as a valuable resource for assessing current constraints faced by PPP projects and developing innovative ways of creating a conducive investment climate for private sector involvement in the sewerage sector.”
Co-chairing the session on ‘Model for Efficient Water Management at Local Level in Urban/Peri-Urban Areas,’ Mr Pradeep Puri, Chairman, IL&FS Water Ltd. & Chairman, FICCI National Executive Committee on Urban Infrastructure and Smart Cities, remarked, “probably no other aspect of urban infrastructure is more mismanaged than water distribution where we compare very poorly with international benchmarks in terms of efficiency, per capita availability and water tariffs.”
About FICCI Water Mission
FICCI constituted a “Water Mission” to promote and provide thought leadership in the area of water efficiency. It aims to facilitate the sharing and dissemination of best practices across industry sectors in order to encourage corporate and industry players to imbibe a culture of water conservation within their organizations. The Mission is working to create awareness on the existing situation pertaining to water scarcity and quality and generate a discourse on sustainable use of water amongst various users. With growing and extensive depletion of and pollution of our water resources, the Mission’s current work is being restructured to bring this issue back in focus to provide a sense of urgency to the debate of water management.