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Re: Infrastructure

Dear friends.

I refer the following posting
Privatisation would be the best bet. Government has failed in this
respect. Just go to Madras and you'll see what I mean. They get
water in tankers! Hundreds of tankers come into the city in the 
morning. Officially, government is supposed to supply water.
Unofficially, private companies are doing it. Might as well make it
official. I do not think that people will be fleeced. 

My response is

We must be sure of our facts before we make value based statements.
As a person living in Madras for many years I can say that the opinion
expressed about the  private suppliers as the
main water source of water to Madras is like saying all English are punks
after seeing a few at the Piccadilly Circus on a Saturday evening.

Madras city is still essentially  independent   house based.
Each house has a well. That provides all the non potable water needs .The
Utility water is sought for drinking and cooking mainly.

The city water supply system is designed for supplying one family per plot
of house of this need.
Today a number of the houses with in the inner metro limits are slowly
way  for apartment blocks. Here 10 families now live on the same piece of
which earlier supported one.
Still Madras is a one Metro where you can still hope to buy a plot of land
even at reasonable distance from city center(15-20 Km) . So still local
people prefer to go out and get a piece of land to build a house than go
far a flat if they can help it.The first thing they do is to dig a well.
They are not Utility dependent. That is because except in the 
inner concrete jungle the water table is still shallow and water is still
usable for most of your needs.

Utility should blend with the culture and style of people.
So the water feeding lines inside the metro  is still meant to feed one
family per plot. They can not be changed overnight to meet the greatly
enhanced demand of the apartment complexes. The apartment developers do not
want to bear the cost of the problem that they have created. Why should the
utility ? Still the city Corporation increases its flow  rates  to these
apartment blocks by about three times.So these apartment blocks drill bore
wells to meet the enhanced per plot needs. 

But then nature has set its own limits to the  natural replenishment.

The  apartments do not have a system of collection and redirection back of
the rain water( that comes in bits and pieces during the two rainy months.)
So the water drains away in to the stormwater drain instead of back in to
the well. 

So soon they have saline water. They find it economical to get water drawn
from aquifers outside the city( pumping out of subsoil water for commercial
uses like this with in the city limits is banned)  than to dig deeper well.

These are the tankers our friend talks about-----meeting the needs of those
who have speculated in real estate , with out ensuring the availability of
water. This is an very small part of the city's needs----- a rough
calculation shows that a total of half of one million liters plus come in
to the
city this way------that would meet the  requirements of about 1000 and odd
families and the water needs of  commercial complexes, hotels and

----The city is far bigger than that I suppose. That need
is met by the utility.-----and what does each family pay the utility for it
-------20+/-USD per year as water charges.  Stilt it is not loosing money,

I would like to see one private company in the whole world which is
prepared to supply a city like Madras, out of rain fed catchment, of rains
coming in only two months in an year , with no geographical provision to
create new storage tanks and a weather that would evaporate half of your
storage ---------at that price.or even at soubel of it.

The problem for Madras is that it has no near by rivers and no great
geographic features to store rain water.( Last year they had to let 
enormous quantity of rain water in to the sea because there was no
way to store the extra in flow. It was a sad sight but nothing canbe done
about it.

This year water started flowing in to the city from
Krishna river vide a canal that was built over the last 15 more years at
cost of over USD 200plus million jointly funded by the two states of Tamil
and Andra Pradesh covering a distance of over 800Kms making it the longest
canal in the country after the Indira Gandhi Canal.  That would store water
for the city in the dams in Andhra Pradesh and feed Madras city in a
continuos manner in the lean months. 

Can you still name the private company that would do this infrastructure
and still charge me 20USD per annum.?

If you want to know the right answer to privatisation of water supply
system, please ask residents of the English
cities whose water supply systems were sold for a song under the
privatisation plans of Madam T.  They did not plough back the profits from
the windfall back in to the utility but to no related area including films
and media!. Alternately as the BBC . They ran a very interesting series on
the topic based on the UK experience.

Thanks for your patience for reading this piece. It is no criticism of any
one--- I am only showing the need to do reasonablely sure of facts in our

S.V  Ramani
Enercon CandE, B 602, Riverdale, 4th Main Road Extn
Kotturgardens, Madras, India 600085
Fax 91 44 4344500/ 2350305 Tel 91 44  4419862

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