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SUEZ Expands Activity in India with Davanagere Project: Shyam Bhan, CEO, SUEZ India


On the occasion of the official visit to India by the French President Emmanuel Macron, this month, in Delhi, Manjunath Ballari, the Commissioner of Davanagere City Corporation, and Jean-Louis Chaussade, CEO of SUEZ, signed the contract for the rehabilitation and operation of the drinking water system in the city of Davanagere, Karnataka. The 12-year €70 million project will ensure a constant 24/7 supply of drinking water to Davanagere’s 5,00,000 inhabitants.

Jean-Louis Chaussade, CEO of SUEZ with Manjunath Ballari, Commissioner, Davanagere Corporation Signing the Davanagere 24/7 Water Supply Contract in New Delhi

Davanagere City, one of the largest hubs for textile and agricultural products in Karnataka State, is among the 10 municipalities chosen for the “Smart Cities” program launched by the Indian government. The contract awarded to SUEZ includes rehabilitation, and operation & maintenance of the three drinking water production plants with a capacity of 1,20,000 m3/day, the distribution system (reservoirs, house connections, water meters, valves, etc.) and the construction of a new distribution network to replace the current network, which is now obsolete.

The works, which will last four years, cover a 75 km2 area, including 92,000 buildings (80,000 residential and 12,000 commercial or industrial buildings) and a water distribution network of 1,200km. This works phase will be followed by an eight-year period of operation and maintenance of the water production plants and the drinking water system to ensure constant access to drinking water for a population which is currently only supplied once every three to four days.

The contract also sets objectives for improving the network’s performance, water quality, and customer service by setting up a call center and customer agencies to provide a personal service and efficient resolution of requests and complaints.

“SUEZ has been supporting large municipalities since 2012, including Delhi, Bangalore and, more recently, Kolkata and Coimbatore, to improve drinking water services for a rapidly-growing population. We are proud of this new contract, which illustrates the Group’s commitment to providing local authorities with reliable and tailored solutions to respond to the growing challenge of drinking water access”, says Jean-Louis Chaussade, CEO of the SUEZ Group.

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Mayur Sharma discussed the Davangere project with Shyam J Bhan, CEO, SUEZ India Business Area.

How will you ensure 24×7 availability of water for supplying to the city of Davanagere? Are there enough water resources in the region?
Mr. Bhan: It is a common perception that more water is required to pump in 24/7 supply to the consumers. On the contrary, a utility saves 20-30% of water when it switches from intermittent to continuous supply. This has been observed globally and also in India where we have implemented similar projects. In the initial phase of the transition to continuous water supply, the water requirement goes up for a brief period. However, over a period of time, with the stabilization of supply, the water requirement subsequently reduces significantly.

Having said that, availability of a certain quantity of water is a pre-requisite for ensuring the continuous supply. Such quantities are typically specified in the contract between the client and the service provider.

The source of water for Davanagere is River Tungabhadra which is a perennial river. We do not anticipate the shortage of water in normal circumstances.

Please mention some of the new technologies which will be used in this 12-year long project.
Mr. Bhan: At Davangere, like other projects in India, we would be deploying international SUEZ technology but fully indigenized for Indian condition. For instance, Helium gas based invisible leak detection, Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) for mapping underground pipes, etc.

We are also keen to deploy a series of innovative software related to network management, GIS, optimization of CAPEX, Asset management, etc. This SMART Management for Water Utilities uses a scientific approach to manage water distribution system using GIS technology on a real-time basis and enhances the overall delivery efficiency of the distribution system, saves a lot of energy and improves customer satisfaction. The system involves a simple integration of all input, delivery data and consumer data on a GIS platform. The same is integrated with the utility SCADA system for managing day-to-day operations.

Along with the new technologies, we will be introducing best-in-class implementation processes. This would ensure superior workmanship during construction activities such as jointing of pipes, installation of meters, providing House Service Connections, etc.

Davanagere is among the 10 selected municipalities chosen for ‘Smart Cities’ program. Do you think such projects can be cost-effective for those municipalities as well which are not in smart cities program yet?
Mr. Bhan: In case of Davanagere, most of the project fund is coming from ADB and AMRUT. However, regardless of the source of fund, adoption of such projects are the reflection of changing mindsets of municipal corporations which are keen to bring transformation in their water distribution and more inclined to give better services to their customers. To make it cost-effective for Indian context is SUEZ advantage. We understand the local market needs and have the operational experience to support the customers with best in class services.

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