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Cycle 8 (2019 Deadline)

Conversion from intermittent to continuous water supply (24 x 7) through public-private partnership (PPP): investigating governance and sustenance issues in Karnataka, India

PI: Nayanatara Nayak (, Centre for Multi-Disciplinary Development Research, in partnership with Karnatak University, Dharwad
U.S. Partner: Emily Kumpel, University of Massachusetts, Amherst
Project Dates: January 2020 - August 2022

Project Overview:
The World Bank assistance to Continuous Water Supply (CWS)/24x7 in cities of the Indian state of Karnataka is based on contracts signed by the state’s government. Although the CWS pilot project has been successful in Hubli-Dharwad city, the question remains whether participation of the private sector in urban water supply improves service delivery in terms of water availability, quality, pressure, new connections, maintenance, reduction of non-revenue water, billing, and fee collections in the long run, particularly when the project is extended to the entire city. Does 24x7 water supply address issues of equity and sustainability? Does 24x7 water supply reduce waterborne diseases? Does the public-private-partnership model improve the quality of municipal services and their capacities? Has 24x7 resulted in conflicts of interest between traditional water supply institutions? If so, does this impact implementation of 24x7 and its upscaling? These are some of the questions that the proposed study intends to answer.

A study of CWS vs. Intermittent Water Supply (IWC) in Hubli-Dharwad city by Jayaramu et al. (2015) reveals higher satisfaction among customers on water quality, continuity in supply, quantity, and pressure as compared to considerable dissatisfaction with similar parameters under intermittent supply. Similarly, the draft report on environmental and social assessment of continuous water supply project in Hubli-Dharwad also reveals that customers, particularly daily wage laborers in the 24x7 demo zones, are happy, as they need not take time off work to fill water containers. On the other hand, Burt and Ray’s (2014) study on 24x7 water supply in Hubli-Dharwad reveals that the system does not satisfy the assumptions that were expected to be fulfilled with its implementation. The current PEER study will be based both on empirical data to be collected from members of selected urban households and secondary data to be obtained from municipal corporations, local and international private operators responsible for operations and management, financial institutions, and water boards in the sample region. The study is well-poised to address the above mentioned questions and should significantly contribute to ongoing policy debates on continuous water delivery in India, as well as in other developing countries.

Summary of Recent Activities:

8-141 Billava 2020
Dr. Narayan Billava (center, in plaid shirt) at the 39th Annual Conference held at Centre for Urban Economic Studies, University of Calcutta, in February 2020 [photo courtesy of Dr. Nayak].
The CMDR research team completed their survey of 3,267 resident households in the cities of Mysuru, Kalburgi, and Hubblli-Dharwad during the last quarter of 2021. In addition, they completed 61 key informant interviews with officials from the municipal corporations, all four local water boards, three offices of the Karnataka Urban Infrastructure Development Finance Corporation (KUIDFC), and three private companies. On October 8, 2021, the PI and her colleagues also made a presentation for NGO representatives and Water Board officers at a workshop organized by KUIDFC in Mangalore. The topic was data collection using the KOBO Tool Box App.

In the first quarter of 2022 they will be working to clean the household-level data collected and on the basis of that information develop the analytical framework. In the spring they also plan to conduct and analyze a comparative water quality survey, and in June they will organize regional dissemination workshops to share their findings. A no-cost extension has been issued through August 31, 2022.

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