ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846
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Piped Water Supply to Greater Bangalore: Putting the Cart before the Horse?

Cities in India are moving towards commercially viable models of urban water and sanitation delivery to fill the widening gap between demand and supply. Cost recovery through upfront beneficiary contributions is increasingly becoming a key consideration in the provision of piped water and sewerage. This paper examines the Greater Bangalore Water and Sanitation Project, a project that aims to extend piped water from the Cauvery to over two million residents in peri-urban Bangalore. The paper critically evaluates the project and makes four interlinked arguments: (1) Upfront payments from citizens have not guaranteed timely and satisfactory service. (2) The project's financial model is disconnected from actually existing settlement and urbanisation patterns, thus delaying water delivery and undermining accountability. (3) The project's highly centralised decision-making process has resulted in low political buy-in and public acceptance. (4) Modifications to the original financial model have been crucial in sustaining credibility and getting the project off the ground.

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