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Impact of privatisation of water distribution services in the city of Nagpur

In this study we examine issues of cost recovery, rationalisation of water tariffs and public private partnerships that have influenced the privatisation, commercialisation and commodification of water in Nagpur City.

In 2011, the Nagpur Municipal Corporation and its subsidiary entity, Nagpur Environmental Services Ltd., entered into a 25 year public-private partnership (PPP) agreement with Orange City Water Ltd. for privatising the water supply and distribution of the city of Nagpur in order to improve service delivery and reduce non-revenue water. Since the Nagpur PPP project has been hailed as a successful model for replication in other cities across India, this study intends to research the impact of privatization of water distribution services in Nagpur.

We engage with the urban local bodies as well as the private operator to understand whether the PPP project has been able to fulfil its objectives and meet the defined performance targets. We use field engagements to understand whether privatisation has translated into improved service delivery, equity in service delivery and if communities are able to afford the increase in their water tariff.

We hope this study would contribute to the body of knowledge about Nagpur’s water privatisation effort thereby informing citizens and other stakeholders. We also attempt to draw lessons from the Nagpur experience that can be taken to other cities looking to privatise their water distribution services.