The study titled ‘Urban drinking water security in Gujarat’ by Meera Mehta, Dinesh Mehta and Jaladhi Vavaliya was recently published in Journal of Social and Economic Development.
As the World Water Day is observed on March 22, the experts said that the state has reduced its dependence on groundwater by expanding the reach of Narmada canal network at the cost of Rs 47,000 crore. It has improved the water supply in north Gujarat and Saurashtra regions, improving economic growth.
‘Having achieved water security in urban areas, it is now important for Government of Gujarat and the urban local governments to focus on improving water management… Smaller cities that receive less than 70 litres per capita per day (lpcd) of water need to be provided more water.
In addition, as we have seen, higher quantity of water does not necessarily translate into higher level of service to consumers. The high level of non-revenue water (NRW) needs to be reduced,’ mentioned the study.
The researchers attributed the difficulty in assessing water consumption to lack of meters – something which would be a prerequisite if the state needs to move to 24×7 water supply dream. They thus advocated the consumer-level metering system and a robust water management system to plug in any gaps in distribution system including leaks and wastage.
‘While the total quantum of water supplied in cities has increased, the duration of water supply and the number of days of water supply have not changed significantly over the ten-year period,’ mentioned the researchers.